Californians offering online opinions or reviews of businesses will have new legal protection under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The measure by Assemblyman John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) aims to crack down on retailers seeking to stop negative online reviews by requiring consumers not to make negative public comments about the business.
Those requirements, known as non-disparagement clauses, are at times buried in the lengthy terms and conditions that some businesses ask customers to agree to before making a purchase. Pérez's measure makes such clauses illegal in most cases.
Pérez, the former Assembly speaker, said his bill, AB 2365, "is an important consumer protection for Californians."
"No consumer should ever face penalties for voicing their opinions on the services or products they have purchased, and California law is now clear that no company has the ability to silence consumers," he said in a statement.
The bill was among the 16 measures signed into law by Brown on Tuesday. Also in that batch was a proposal that extends to unpaid interns protections against discrimination and harassment that already exists for most employees. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is the author of that bill, AB 1443.
One of the Legislature's higher-profile bills is set to become law tomorrow with considerably more fanfare. Brown will be in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning to sign a measure that would give nearly all California workers at least three days of paid sick leave per year.