Some California Supervisors and HR Pros Must Report Child Abuse

By Bruce Sarchet © Littler October 13, 2020
Business woman making phone call

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law, adopted in 1980, requires that certain "mandated reporters" make formal reports of suspected child abuse to law enforcement authorities. 

As defined in the law, child abuse includes acts and omissions constituting physical abuse, sexual abuse (including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect.

The law has been amended several times over the years, including by identifying additional groups of persons as mandated reporters. Now, effective Jan. 1, 2021, certain California human resources professionals and frontline supervisors will also be identified as mandated reporters. 

AB 1963, recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, lists as mandated reporters of child abuse "human resources employees" working for businesses with at least five employees that also employ minors. A human resources employee, as defined, is any designated by the employer to accept complaints of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, etc., made under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.              

In addition, the law identifies as mandated reporters of sexual abuse frontline supervisors working for businesses with five or more employees whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors. Note that supervisors are not mandated reporters of all types of child abuse, as defined, but only of sexual abuse.

Employers subject to the law are required to provide training to employees who have reporting duties under the law. The training must include training in both the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The training requirement may be met by completing the general online training for mandated reporters offered by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services.

Businesses subject to AB 1963 should begin planning as soon as possible to meet these new obligations under the law.

Bruce Sarchet is an attorney with Littler in Sacramento. © 2020 Littler. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 



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