The California Family Rights Act prohibits California employers with at least five (5) workers from refusing to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any year to care for their own or a family member’s serious health condition or bond with a newborn.

Presently, the California Family Rights Act defines a family member to include individuals who share a prescribed relationship with the employee.  However, in 2022, the California Legislature worked to expand the persons that qualify as a “designated person” under the California Family Rights Act.

Beginning on January 1, 2023, the California Family Rights Act will define “designated person” as, “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” California Government Code § 12945.2.  This amendment seeks to provide California workers with unmarried life partners and similar “chosen” family members with the same rights the California Family Rights Act affords blood relatives.  This change is significant for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals who often have close partners to whom they are not legally married or in registered domestic partners.  With this in mind, an employer’s refusal to honor a designated person could support a sexual orientation wrongful employment discrimination claim.

California workers may identify the designated person when requesting leave under the California Family Rights Act. California Government Code § 12945.2(b)(2).

Also, starting in January 2023, the California Family Rights Act’s definition of “parent,” will include a parent-in-law. California Government Code §§ 12945.2(b)(11), (12).

If you believe that your employer has violated the California Family Rights Act, contact Astanehe Law.  Astanehe Law has experience representing California employees who have been discriminated against and suffered retaliation because they exercised their right to CFRA protected leave, including under the California Family Rights Act’s new expanded designated person definition.  Astanehe Law represents clients on a contingency fee basis.  Call us at (415) 226-7170 or email us at