Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Oct 07, 2014

CALIFORNIA: New workplace bullying training required

 

Starting January 1, 2015, employers in California with 50 or more employees must include training on preventing “abusive conduct” as part of the currently required sexual harassment training for supervisors.

Starting January 1, 2015, employers in California with 50 or more employees must include training on preventing “abusive conduct” as part of the currently required sexual harassment training for supervisors. Abusive conduct under AB 2053 is defined 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.”

The new law’s sponsor cites a variety of studies that show the emotional and physical toll that abusive work environments can have on employees, and argues that this conduct also negatively impacts employers through decreased productivity.

Tips: The push for laws to combat workplace bullying is likely to continue. Vigilant will be ready to provide this expanded training for your supervisors in 2015. Remember that California law requires supervisors to receive at least two hours of training on sexual harassment prevention within six months of assuming supervisory responsibilities, and every two years after that. If employees complain of workplace bullying, contact your Vigilant staff representative to discuss how you can deal with this issue in the context of your policy against harassment.

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