Employment Law

New California Law Prevents Discrimination Against Reservists

Effective January 1, 2019, California law will extend protections against discrimination in employment to military reservists.

Existing law prohibits various types of discrimination against people serving in any branch of the military armed services, either at the state or federal level. That includes a prohibition against discrimination based on membership or service in the military. California law also prohibits employers from discharging someone for participating in any ordered military duty or training or based on membership in any branch of the state or federal armed services.

The new law, Senate Bill 1500, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in July, extends those protections to reservists. It also prohibits places of public entertainment or amusement from refusing entrance to any members of the U.S. Armed Forces because they are wearing a military uniform.

Employers need to make sure equal employment opportunity policies and related handbook provisions include membership in federal and state reserves as a protected category. Management and staff also need to be trained that it’s inappropriate to refuse to allow uniformed military personnel into any public place of entertainment or amusement because they are wearing a military uniform.

For more information on new California laws affecting employers, see the October 8, 2018, issue of California Employment Law Letter.

James S. Brown is an attorney with Duane Morris LLP in San Francisco. He can be reached at jamesbrown@duanemorris.com.