Your Business Must Comply with AB 1825 Supervisor Training

The deadline for supervisor training under California AB 1825, the law designed to instruct supervisory employees and managers in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace is December 31, 2013.

AB 1825 (now codified at Cal. Gov. Code § 12950.1) became law in California on January 1, 2005, and requires all employers with at least 50 employees to provide two hours of classroom, eLearning (Online) or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment prevention to supervisory employees every two years. New supervisors must be trained within six months of being promoted to a supervisory position and, thereafter, every two years as outline in AB 1825.

The required training must take the form of “information and practical guidance” regarding federal and state laws concerning the prohibition on, and the prevention and correction of, sexual harassment, and the remedies available to victims of such harassment. The training must be provided by “trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation” and must include practical examples aimed at educating supervisors.

Employers must track compliance with California AB 1825 by maintaining training records indicating the date and type of training provided and the supervisor-trainee’s name, as well as the name of the instructor. These records or certificates of completion must be maintained for a minimum of two years.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has the authority to penalize employers who fail to comply with the training supervisor requirement. The law states that compliance with AB 1825 is not a defense to a sexual harassment claim and, conversely, that a supervisor’s failure to receive training is not grounds for establishing liability for harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The three most common types of sexual harassment complaints filed with the Department

  1. An employee is terminated or denied a job because the employee refused to perform sexual favors or because the employee complained about harassment. Retaliation for complaining about harassment is unlawful, regardless if it cannot be demonstrated that the harassment actually occurred.
  2. An employee resigned because the employee can no longer tolerate an offensive workplace, referred to as a “constructive discharge” harassment case. If it is proven that a reasonable person, under like conditions, would resign to escape the harassment, the employer may be held responsible for the resignation as if the employee had been terminated.
  3. An employee is exposed to an offensive workplace. Exposure to various kinds of conduct or to unwanted sexual advances alone may constitute harassment.
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