New 2015 Laws & AB 1825 Training
Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that amend the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and change the rules for “AB 1825” supervisor anti-harassment training. The new laws take effect January 1, 2015.
The first new law, AB 2053, directly amends the anti-harassment training statute (Government Code section 12950.1). This law adds a new subsection that states “An employer shall also include prevention of abusive conduct as a component of the training and education…”
Significantly, AB 2053 does not change California’s anti-harassment or anti-discrimination rules. It does not make “abusive conduct” (or “bullying”) illegal. It does not let anyone sue for abusive conduct or make anyone liable if abusive conduct occurs. It only requires that supervisor AB1825 training now include “prevention of abusive conduct.” The second new law, AB 1443, amends FEHA to add “unpaid interns or volunteers” to the list of individuals protected from harassment. So, starting in 2015, employers will be liable for harassment of unpaid interns and volunteers, in addition to the existing liability for employees and contractors (“persons providing services pursuant to a contract”). This law will be especially significant for non-profits and other organizations that use volunteers or interns. Accordingly, AB 1825 training should be amended to alert supervisors to the importance of protecting everyone from harassment in the workplace, including interns and volunteers.