California’s law on harassment claims is being called into question after it was expanded to cover employment discrimination.
The new law allows for lawsuits against an employer that has been accused of sexual harassment, regardless of whether that accusation is substantiated, Business Insider reports.
The law is named in part because former employees of the state’s public utilities regulator are suing the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates electricity, water, and gas.
California is one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to workplace discrimination, with many laws protecting women, LGBTQ people, and others.
However, there is a big problem with the current law.
In California, if an employer can prove that a plaintiff is harassed because of his or her gender, race, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, the employer can file a harassment lawsuit.
But the law doesn’t specifically mention sexual harassment.
As a result, many of the people suing the utilities commission are asking the courts to take a stand on the law, and some of them are challenging it as a violation of their civil rights.
The California Civil Rights Commission is currently weighing its legal options, including a motion to dismiss the suit.
But as the AP notes, the commission has already found that the law is in violation of the California constitution, the California Civil Code, and the state constitution’s “right to equal protection.”
According to the AP, the new law “creates a new right to sue and sets a new standard for determining when the plaintiff can file for damages in a civil case.
It’s likely to open the door to lawsuits against corporations and others that have made sexual harassment claims, potentially raising legal questions about how much discrimination is acceptable in California.”