California’s law that requires employers to provide annual sexual harassment training to all supervisors was amended to include prevention of abusive conduct. The new law defines abusive conduct as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”
Effective January 1, 2015, all employers that do business in California and have 50 or more employees must provide managers with two hours of harassment training, as well as training on the prevention of abusive conduct. The requisite training must take place for managers and supervisors every two years (or within six months for the newly promoted or hired manager). While the new law does not prohibit abusive conduct, it does require training—which may be completed either in person or online.
If you are a Humboldt County employer with any questions about the effect of California’s new laws on your business, please contact an experienced employment attorney.