Contributing author: Clear Law Institute, LLC
California Employers: a new law is in effect that requires that ‘Sexual-Harassment-Prevention’ training, for California-based supervisors, be coupled with ‘Abusive-Conduct’ training. In other words, the previously-required sexual-harassment training for supervisors must be in addition to education on the prevention of abusive behaviors in the workplace. The new law is entitled AB 2053 and was endorsed on September 9, 2014. This new ruling modifies the requirements of California’s sexual-harassment training law referred to as AB 1825—Government-Code section 12950.1.
This article targets several frequently-asked questions concerning the new law.
When Does AB 2053 Come Into Effect?
AB 2053 became law as of January 1, 2015. After this date, any training that is provided by employers to their supervisors must incorporate and coincide with the new conditions of AB 2053.
What is the Definition of ‘Abusive Conduct’?
‘Abusive Conduct’, according to AB 2053, is defined as follows: “Conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”
AB 2053 states, more specifically, that ‘abusive conduct’ may involve:
*** Habitual verbal abuse such as demeaning remarks, insults and offensive terms or designations
*** Body language or speech, in any form, that a reasonable person would deem as intimidating, coercing or humiliating
*** The unjustified interruption or opposition of an employee’s work-related duties or capabilities
AB 2053 goes on to state: “a single act shall not constitute ‘abusive conduct’ unless especially severe and egregious.”
Is ‘Abusive Conduct’ Illegal in California Work Places?
Under the new law, ‘abusive conduct’ and bullying are not considered to be unlawful in California work environments. ‘Abusive conduct’ is not referenced as part of the list of protected characteristics relating to California harassment and discrimination laws. The gist of the matter lies with California-based supervisors being properly trained on how to effectively detour abusive conduct.
California Law AB 1825—What Are Its Mandates?
California Law AB 1825 was enacted in 2005 and its requirements state:
*** All employers utilizing 50 or more staffer-members must submit two hours of sexual-harassment training opportunities once every two years for their employees who hold supervisory positions.
*** California-based supervisors who are new to the position are required to receive sexual-harassment training within 6 months of being hired. This includes any in-house employee who will be promoted into a supervisory role.
California Law AB 1825 further mentions that sexual-harassment training must:
*** Effectively utilize actual interaction between the attendees
*** Provide information that is real-world and germane to the work environment
*** Include conversation relating to pertinent federal and state laws
*** Discuss ways in which one can avert, counteract and discourage sexual harassment
*** Equip supervisors with meaningful examples of how to effectively prevent any victimizing, intimidating and menacing behaviors
*** Offer types of useful remedies for any employees who might be victimized by sexual harassment
Employers should act expediently to ensure their sexual-harassment training is compliant with AB 2053’s stipulations.
This article was contributed by Clear Law Institute, LLC