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#MeToo movement yields new laws for the new year

Posted: 4:04 PM, Dec 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-27 19:04:36-05
Big national news stories of 2017

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The toppling of entertainment titan Harvey Weinstein sparked a movement that spawned new California state laws taking effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Two of Weinstein's accusers, actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, on Thursday joined legislators and equal rights advocates who pushed for reforms and got them.

"This is a day of celebration. This is a day of hope," said Sorvino.

Among the reforms is SB 1300 which closes loopholes in what constitutes a hostile workplace. A worker has the right to sue an employer for a single offensive act.

"We want people to know that they can't put their hand under somebody's shirt once and squeeze their breast and get away with it.," explained Sorvino.

And now harassed workers cannot be silenced by signing a deal with an employer. Senate Bill 820 bans secret settlements (confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements).

"No sneaky releases so the employer can get off the hook for their improper behavior," said State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson.

California workers will have more legal protection than anywhere in the nation, whether you are an actor or a nanny.

Perhaps the person harassing you is not an employer but someone you have to deal with to earn a living. Senate Bill 224 expands protections against a harassers who may be investors, producers or elected officials.

"If you can affect someone else's career and you go about the business of ruining them, you will be responsible under this SB 224 as an employer responsibility," explained actress Chantal Cousineau.

Advocates believe the measures will go far in closing loopholes, but they say this has to be just the start because so many changes are still needed.

Details of the new laws can be found at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ .

This story is courtesy of our sister station ABC7 in Los Angeles.