Harassment Training Requirement Starts Soon

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California has adopted stricter laws to prevent workplace Discrimination and Harassment for employers with 5 or more employees Employment practice cases of all categories have become more common and the employer is typically blindsided when the summons is delivered. All types of employment practice claims have three things in common.

1) The employer did not see it coming.

2) They are very expensive, usually over $150,000 per employee.

3) They are not covered by standard insurance policies, i.e. workers compensation or general liability.

The news media has been full of lurid sexual harassment stories. The state legislature has responded by passing new laws requiring the posting of signs and training of all employees. The classes will teach the non-supervisory employees how to recognize various forms of workplace abuse, and what legal resources to call. The supervisory employees have additional training about how to deal with a real or potential situation.

California law has long made certain employment practices unlawful, including harassment of an employee directly by the employer or indirectly by other employees, vendors, customers, etc. with the employee’s knowledge. During 1984, the government code section 12950.1 was amended to require employers with 50 or more employees to provide acceptable training and to all supervisory employees every two years. The code section was further amended during September of 2018 requiring employers with 5 or more employees to meet the education requirement by January 1, 2020 for existing employees and within 6 months of hire for new employees.

The education requirement is one hour for all non-supervisory employees every two years and two hours for supervisory employees every two years.

The education can come from California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or other acceptable providers. Posters and Brochures can be downloaded and copied free from the California Department of Fair Employment. Other acceptable sources may charge for the materials.

The education and materials inform the employees how to recognize and report harassment, discrimination and other hostile workplace situations. It is up to the employer to quickly resolve the problem. The employer usually gets one chance to resolve a problem. Failure to promptly deal with the problem can quickly put the employer in the defendant seat.

The State of California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) is charged with enforcing most employment regulations. They have downloadable signs and pamphlets that are downloadable from their website – www.dfeh.ca.gov/. They are also supposed to provide web based training. The DFEH pamphlets break the new law into three categories; Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and California Family Rights Act.

Thanks to Greg McCartney of McGovern Insurance in Belmont for sending this in. You can reach Greg at 650-593-8216.