On January 1, 2005, California Assembly Bill 1825 (AB1825) required anti-harassment training for California employers with more than 50 employees, every two years. In this article, we bring you the ins-and-outs of this important piece of legislation.
Training Duration and Frequency
AB1825 requires managers and supervisors to receive at least two hours of highly interactive classroom, webinar or E-learning lessons every two years. In the case of E-learning, the presentation must be constructed so that material presented reaches a documented 2-hour learning time period.
Training should not focus exclusively on sexual harassment; harassment and discrimination involving other protected categories should be covered as well.
Training should include the following 10 essential points:
1. The purpose of AB1825. The law is designed to assist employers to modify behaviors that facilitate harassment and encourage ideals in supervisory employees that will help prevent and engender effective responses to incidents of harassment.
2. The state and federal definitions of discrimination, retaliation, sexual and other forms of harassment.
3. Behavior that constitutes sexual harassment.
4. Remedies for and strategies to prevent sexual harassment.
5. Concrete examples of sexual harassment, including same-sex harassment.
6. The definition of limited confidentiality regarding the complaint process.
7. Resources and explanations for victims and information regarding to whom to address complaints.
8. The definition of an effective investigation, as well as the employer’s obligation to conduct one.
9. Course of action if supervisor is personally accused of harassment.
10. Essential elements of an anti-harassment policy that must be provided, read and acknowledged by each supervisor.
The interactive nature of the training serves to reinforce the knowledge provided, reemphasize critical points and keep the participants alert.
Some examples of interactive elements are quizzes, questions, hypothetical situations, practical examples from case law, current news and skill-building activities.
Who is qualified to conduct sexual harassment training?
· Attorneys with 2 or more years of employment law practice
· Professors with a post-graduate degree and at least 2 years’ experience teaching about employment law
· HR professionals with HR Professional certification and 2 or more years of experience in harassment related work
Trainers should also understand the rationale behind the law. They should be qualified to explain the definition of harassment, how to report and respond to harassment complaints, what constitutes retaliation and how to prevent it, the essential components of an anti-harassment policy, the obligation to conduct an investigation, the effect of harassment on others and how to prevent harassment.
Benefits of Training
Aside for just abiding with California employment law, there is a direct correlation between training and a reduction in harassment complaints. Training defines professional behavior for staff members and clearly marks the boundaries between legal and illegal. Training helps people to separate between personal beliefs and behaviors outside of work, and expectations and professional behavior within the workplace.