Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825) is Turning 10 Years Old

What is the California Law Requiring Supervisor Training on Workplace Discrimination and Workplace Harassment?

California AB 1825 (Government Code § 12950.1) amended the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code § 12900 et seq., to require employers of 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of effective training to all supervisory employees on prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace; workplace discrimination (including racial discrimination, religious discrimination, age discrimination, sex discrimination, gender discrimination, and other types of discrimination in the workforce); and workplace retaliation at least once every two years.

A Brief History of AB 1825

AB 1825 and the Connecticut law after which it was modeled are the most rigorous workplace discrimination and workplace harassment training laws in the United States. When AB 1825 went into effect California employers scrambled to large law firms seeking the necessary EEO classes and EEO training necessary to maintain compliance with the new law. Clearly that training was expensive, as billable hours racked up.  Nevertheless, in the early years employers saw a discernible decline in age discrimination, gender discrimination, and race discrimination. Employers and their supervisors also learned useful human resources and management practices regarding hiring, lawful termination, employee privacy, and family and medical leave act issues that contributed to a more positive overall working environment immediately.

The Impact of Employer Compliance with AB 1825

Undoubtedly, employers have a responsibility to eliminate workplace discrimination and workplace harassment.  By allowing these unlawful practices to flourish in the workplace, employers pay the high price of litigation costs in addition to low morale, decreased productivity, and an overall negative reputation in the community. In the ten years since AB 1825 was enacted, employers who once dreaded the taking up supervisor work time for training courses now welcome the idea of allowing their supervisors the time to learn the latest laws and tactics to reduce unlawful workplace discrimination and workplace harassment. Modern employers understand that not only are they able to avoid employee lawsuits, they also gain a more productive overall workforce when their businesses are free from hostile environments. In short, effective anti-discrimination training is not only a legal requirement; it is a prudent business decision.

Changes in California Discrimination Law Mean Changes in Employer Policies

In addition to fostering a positive, non-discriminatory work environment, California’s discrimination laws are ever changing. Businesses and their supervisors absolutely must learn about changes in the law. For example, in 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law bills that took effect at the beginning of 2014 changing definitions of discrimination against military victims (AB 556) and victims of certain violent crimes (SB 292). New definitions can mean existing EEO policies are now out of date and non-compliant with California and federal law. By keeping regular training schedules you can be sure that your business is compliant with the latest laws regarding workplace discrimination and workplace harassment in addition to maintaining compliance with the bi-annual training requirements set forth by AB 1825.

Cost-Effective Electronic Methods of AB 1825 Compliance can Save Time and Productivity

With the advent of e-learning and online compliance training, developing equal employment opportunity programs and policies that are AB 1825 compliant has become easier and more cost-effective than ever. Certified training companies like Syntrio, Inc. provide two-hour training courses that meet the requirements of AB 1825 with respect to discrimination in the workforce; sexual harassment prevention; retaliation prevention; lawful (non-discriminatory) hiring, interviewing and termination; workplace ethics, cultural diversity and other relevant topics.

Syntrio, Inc. specializes in providing AB 1825 compliant ethics and HR compliance training in an extremely comprehensive yet cost-effective and time sensitive manner. Contact us today at 888-289-6670 to discuss the ways Syntrio, Inc. can help your supervisors and HR Professionals ensure that they are up to date with California equality and workplace diversity training.

 

The Repercussions of Ignoring Sexual Harassment Training Mandates

The recent claim of sexual harassment against the Mayor of San Diego, has many of us wondering “how did this happen?”

San Diego has a sexual harassment training program which is mandatory for all employees to complete within six months of employment. Yet, the mayor’s office appears to have cancelled the training numerous times. Is this a case where training programs just “fell through the cracks”?  Why was Mayor  Filner allowed to abstain from this vital training?

Training and compliance educations are forms of protection, especially important trainings such as sexual harassment awareness and prevention. Businesses tend to focus on ensuring managers and employees complete this type of training; however, a company’s most visible and prominent figures (read that to mean the most vulnerable) are not usually required to complete this important training exercise. Why are company Presidents and CEOs allowed a free pass?

The people at the top (usually high level employees of the executive level) often claim to be too busy to attend this type of valuable training. Let’s face it—No one wants to get too pushy with the boss.  Sadly what is also the case is that HR Departments avoid demonstrating their antiquated, instructor-led training to the boss. They really want don’t want the boss sitting and observing them in action.  Isn’t this a form of failing the boss, the company, and the employees HR is responsible for?

According to the attorney representing Mayor Filner, the mayor might never have been sued for sexual harassment had he been properly trained. Of course, none of us know for sure what would or would not have happened had he been properly trained. What we do know is the city of San Diego would have limited liability in the recent lawsuit if they could prove that the training requirement had been met.

When a complaint is filed with the EEOC, one of the first questions asked is what training took place and when.  The ability to prove that an organization took proactive steps to minimize discrimination through training is essential to reducing or avoiding liability. If you are asked about your organization’s harassment training records, do you feel confident that your liability risk is mitigated?

Contact Syntrio today to learn more about sexual harassment training and how it can help you and your business avoid unnecessary complications and liability.