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New California Fair Employment and Housing Act regulations that went into effect April 1, 2016, requiring employers to have a discrimination, harassment, retaliation and prevention policy, also set new benchmarks for mandatory sexual harassment training procedures.
Since its enactment in 2005, California’s AB 1825 has governed mandatory sexual harassment training by employers. AB 1825 requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide regular and legally compliant training to supervisors. The new FEHA regulations add to the already lengthy list of compliance requirements for training in terms of process, record-keeping, and content.
While the existing regulations have referred to other means of training such as audio, video or computer technology in conjunction with classroom, webinar and e-learning trainings, the new regulations clarify that these “other” methods are merely “supplemental” and, by themselves, cannot fulfill the AB 1825 training requirements. Accordingly, employers should not rely on training that consists solely of these methods.
The requirements for trainers have also been expanded. In order to be considered a qualified trainer, in addition to previously outlined requirements, the trainer also must now have the ability to train supervisors on identifying behavior that may constitute unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation under both California and federal law, as opposed to just defining these concepts. Additionally, trainers must be able to train on supervisors’ obligation to report harassing, discriminatory or retaliatory behavior of which they become aware.
The new regulations set forth more stringent requirements for tracking compliance. These include:
Additional content requirements under the new amended regulations expand the list of topics for discussion to include:
Employers subject to California’s AB 1825 should review their training procedures and material content carefully to ensure they are up to date with these new requirements.
Cynthia S. Sandoval is an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Orange County, Calif. Edward M. Cherof is an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Atlanta. © 2016 Jackson Lewis PC. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission
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