New California harassment laws take effect Jan. 1

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The #MeToo movement helped spawn a slew of bills in the California Legislature seeking to curb sexual harassment.Photo: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and the backlash against sexual harassment he spawned led to a raft of new state workplace laws that will take effect Jan. 1.

“#MeToo was a dominating topic at the Capitol this year,” said Jennifer Barrera, an executive vice president with the California Chamber of Commerce.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed eight bills this year aimed at preventing sexual and other forms of harassment on the job and promoting gender diversity on boards.

SB826 got the most attention. It requires any publicly traded company that has its principal executive office in California to have at least one female director by the end of 2019, even if it has to expand its board to make room. By the end of 2021, these companies must have at least two women on five-member boards and at least three women on boards with six or more directors.

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