AB 1825: A Reminder to California Employers 7 Years Later
As 2015 quickly approaches, employers having started their AB 1825 Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training for Supervisors will be reaching the 2 year point. For those who are unaware of this California law, on August 17, 2007 California enacted state law AB 1825 mandating state-wide mandatory sexual harassment training for employees in a supervisory role.
AB 1825 requires:
· California employers with 50 or more employees to engage the training.
· 2 hours of interactive sexual harassment training.
· Supervisors must be provided and complete the training every 2 years and the training must be tracked.
· New supervisors must complete the training within 6 months of moving into a supervisory role.
· Documentation of the training must be retained.
Why is ensuring that your supervisors complete the AB 1825 training important?
· State and federal case law has supported that employer training programs may help offset damages and liability for claims of sexual harassment.
· California recognizes the ‘avoidable consequences doctrine” which provides that “a person injured by another's wrongful conduct will not be compensated for damages that the injured person could have avoided by reasonable effort or expenditure.” This can be important in claims brought under FEHA for harassment (hostile work environment) by a supervisor in which “an employer may plead and prove a defense based upon the avoidable consequences doctrine.”
· In the State Department of Health Services v. Superior Court. 31 Cal. 4th 1026, 1044 (Cal 2003) provided that “providing effective sexual harassment training may help limit or even eliminate damages for sexual harassment for supervisors.”
· Most important, it provides your supervisors with an understanding of sexual harassment, how to prevent it, and what to do if it occurs in the workplace. With a solid anti-harassment program in place, the training should be one of your best opportunities to protect your employees, vendors and customers and to avoid costly litigation.
Why is this an important lesson for non-California employers?
· Sexual harassment laws apply to employers across the United States.
· Sexual harassment in the workplace has a profoundly negative impact on your employees, customers and vendors.
· You don’t have to be a California employer to recognize the importance of training your supervisors how to recognize, eliminate and respond to sexual harassment.
· Reducing the chances of claims of sexual harassment by training your supervisor’s costs far less than litigating claims of sexual harassment.
About the Author
Dr. Carlyle Rogers is the President and CEO of the BPSC Group, LLC and author of Dirty Little Secrets: Declassifying the Employment Game. He has over 20 years of HR, operations, employment law, and strategic development experience. Carlyle has Doctorates in Psychology and Jurisprudence and resides in Los Angeles with his family.