New California Sexual Harassment Training Law Approved by Governor Brown

On October 1, 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1343, which amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to require non-managerial employees to receive bi-annual training on the prevention of sexual harassment, gender identity issues and the prevention of abusive conduct in the workplace by January 1, 2020 (or within six months of assuming their position).

On October 1, 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1343 

Although this sweeping change is sure to be burdensome for employers, organizations can rest somewhat easier on the grounds that the required training for non-managerial employees will only be one hour in duration (as opposed to the two hour requirement currently in place). Please take note that managers and supervisors will still be required to receive bi-annual sexual harassment training as has been the case in the past.

The new requirement is part of a series of sweeping changes to California’s FEHA 

The new requirement is part of a series of sweeping changes to California’s FEHA, that are in accord with changes that went into effect in New York and other states. The new training requirements are just one component of those laws.

In response to these changes Syntrio is well prepared to offer your employees both industry-leading sexual harassment training for California managers and a one-hour course that covers the needs of non-managerial employees. In the coming months we will be rolling out a completely refreshed California non-manager course that will truly set the standard for interactive online training in this industry.

Contact Syntrio to schedule a demonstration of our California courseware.

Syntrio invites you to contact us to schedule a demonstration of our California (and other state) courseware with one of our representatives at your earliest convenience. It is never too early to get a head start on fulfilling your requirement for California training, especially given the California legislature’s comment that those employees who receive training by January 1, 2019 will not have to re-train when at the January 2020 deadline!

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance) and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


California Sexual Harassment Training Requirements May Soon Broaden

Always a leader in employee-friendly legislation, California could not be undone by the recent New York City and New York State training requirements aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Indeed, on May 30, 2018, the California State Senate passed SB 1343, which seeks to broaden sexual harassment training requirements already in place under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). already in place under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

California may soon require ALL employees to receive training 

Should SB 1343 be signed into law (and there is no indication it will not sometime this summer) California would require all employees in workplaces larger than 5 employees to receive bi-annual two-hour training on sexual harassment prevention, abusive conduct in the workplace, and bystander intervention by 2020. The current requirement is limited to supervisory employees in workplaces employing 50 or more employees. Such a move would obviously be significant, as it would create an onerous requirement on employers to scramble for new training and force existing providers to adjust their programs to fit the new needs of an exponential number of new small businesses were the bill to pass.

As always, Syntrio remains ahead of the curve on these matters, and is already well into development on revised versions of our AB1825 courseware and a new, non-managerial employee version of the course. Although we recommend providing all employees training as a matter of company policy, obviously the California legislature’s attempt to take matters into its own hands is forcing the issue.

Stay tuned to Syntrio’s blog for further updates on this developing story. 

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance) and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.


 

Minnesota State Legislature Aims to Make Sweeping Changes to Sexual Harassment Laws

The wave of sexual harassment and #MeToo legislation does not appear to be cresting anytime soon, as Minnesota is the latest state with employers in its crosshairs. After months of debate, the Minnesota state legislature seeks to enact a series of laws that would make sweeping changes to the State’s sexual harassment laws. Despite their best intentions, you should keep in mind that when these sorts of changes occur they are never good for the employer.

Minnesota Seeks to Eliminate “Severe and Pervasive” Standard

The first proposed change to Minnesota’s sexual harassment law is an elimination of the decades-old “severe and pervasive” standard for evaluating misconduct that is arguably harassing. Under the current standard, in order to be sexual harassment, conduct must be “unwelcome or unwanted, offensive to a reasonable person, and severe and/or pervasive in nature.” This means that simple jokes and offensive comments that are one off do not generally constitute workplace harassment. Were Minnesota to get its way this year, every comment or incident of inappropriate behavior could be grounds for a harassment claim.

Important to note, the proposed legislative change has been met with severe opposition from the business community and local governments, which [correctly] claim changing the law will lead to a wave of litigation and unnecessary financial burden. With any luck, the legislature will see the danger in adding this new language to Minnesota’s already stringent statutory prohibition on sexual harassment and will keep the status quo to help employers avoid a new wave of litigation.

Non-Disclosure Language in Sexual Harassment Suits in Jeopardy

Another important proposed change seeks to eliminate non-disclosure language in sexual harassment settlement agreements. This proposed change tracks similar legislation in New York and California and is aimed at making incidents more high-profile and public. The current majority of sexual harassment settlement agreements include confidentiality language prohibiting both parties from disparaging one another in the event the parties reach a settlement on a claim of sexual harassment. This is standard language that keep the matter private and avoids big press on incidents. Should the proposed change pass, employers would no longer be able to bargain for non-disclosure. This sort of language will likely cause settlement figures to drop and more cases to go to trial, as employers will be less likely to provide compensation knowing they will likely be all over the news and deemed “guilty” without even going to trial.

We strongly recommend consulting with our representatives to learn more about the training resources Syntrio offers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Syntrio’s subject matter experts are well in tune with changes to the law, and can help you and your company craft a plan of prevention that suits your business needs, no matter its size. We invite you to contact us today at 888-289-6670 or by filling out the online form available here.

Syntrio is a leader in the human resources and employment law fields (as well as ethics and compliance) and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of harassment, discrimination and other employment law issues your organization may face. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards employment law training program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content.


Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our discrimination, harassment, and prevention of retaliation online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on corporate compliance that impact your company.

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.