March 09, 2016
Employment Law Alert
Author(s): Marjorie S. Fochtman
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently adopted a regulation that requires employers with California employees to develop, distribute and implement a harassment, retaliation and discrimination prevention policy and to implement certain procedures for processing such complaints by April 1, 2016. The new regulation, set forth in Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations at section 11023, contains many specifics that employers may not currently include in their handbook policies on discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
California law provides that employers have an affirmative duty to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct. (Gov’t Code § 12940(k)) The new regulation details the elements of a policy and a complaint process that will evidence an employer’s commitment to preventing and correcting such misconduct. Under the new regulation, the policy must:
Moreover, the regulation specifies that this requirement is “in addition to” the requirement to distribute the DFEH-185 brochure on sexual harassment or an alternative writing that complies with Government Code section 12950. Consequently, an employer may no longer rely on the DFEH brochure and may need to develop and distribute an additional policy meeting the requirements of section 11023.
Employers are required to disseminate the policy to employees through print, e-mail or posting, and obtain acknowledgments from employees. Employers must also translate the policy into every language that is spoken by at least 10% of their employees.
Employers should take time now to review their current policies on harassment, discrimination and retaliation and determine if changes are needed to comply with the new regulation.
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