California’s newest sexual harassment law, AB1825, went into effect on December 31, 2005, placing yet another burden on businesses that employ fifty or more people.
Unfortunately, California continues to try and legislate everything and it always creates additional costs to businesses.
It is not wonder why businesses are leaving California by the droves.
Because of this new law your organization is required to have already completed the first round of training. Arguably this is yet one more burden that has been placed on California businesses that may have an impact on driving them out of the state.
The new AB1825 regulation requires that the businesses provide a minimum of two hours or more of sexual harassment training to every supervisor every two years. Even more of a burden is that they are counting independent contractors and temporary employees as being employees of the organization. This may not sound like a tremendous burden but when you add all the other requirements on California based company’s it begins to add up quickly. Not just in the idea of the cost of training but the management of the entire process.
Any newly hired or promoted supervisor must receive this two hour’s worth of sexual harassment training within six months of being placed into the position.
Any newly hired or promoted supervisor must receive this two hour’s worth of sexual harassment training within six months of being placed into the position. The type of training must be of high quality and it must be within a classroom environment or by some other means or method that will be interactive. In other words it can’t be something that is read or signed off on. This will require businesses to incur expenses to bring in trainers if they are not qualified to conduct the training themselves. Yes, the law requires that the course be designed by someone with legal expertise.
The new law, AB1825, also requires that the sexual harassment training include practical guidance on the federal and state statutory laws. In addition, it must provide effective remedies on how to prevent or correct sexual harassment. The remedies must be communicated and available to the victims. Like most new laws the real meat of the law will come from legal actions played out in the courts. Similar to the ADA laws when they first came out. Initially so much was left to interpretation until a judge makes a ruling. Then everyone scrambles to make their adjustments to comply.
The unfortunate fact is that when a victim within an organization makes a claim of sexual harassment...
Not only does the new law, AB1825, require training on sexual harassment but it also requires that the company provide good examples targeted at training supervisors on methods to also prevent discrimination and retaliation. The unfortunate fact is that when a victim within an organization makes a claim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation your training program will be placed under a micro scope and that can never be a good thing. Monday morning quarterbacks will be coming out of the wood works.
When a company is challenged in court from a victim everyone will quickly see that the new law, AB1825, will be tested. The court is going to want to see and/or know that the company fulfilled its requirement to train the supervisor’s. They will question why the victim was placed into a situation whereby they were sexually harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against. My guess is that the company will be found liable for not going far enough to stop or prevent the violation.
I am not questioning whether or not individuals within an organization should be sexually harassed or not. Of course they should not be! What I am questioning is why do we need the new law, AB1825, when there are already so many laws and requirements on the books about all the laws above. My argument is that companies already know they cannot tolerate sexual harassment in the work place. Many have learned that lesson from paying out huge law suits for violating them.
Do your research, before you go out and spend thousands of dollars on training your supervisors. Make sure the training will meet every aspect of the new law. Even though I do not agree the law is necessary I do strongly recommend that you take it very seriously. Not doing so may end up costing you huge sums of money in fines and/or law suits. Do your homework thoroughly.
Sexual harassment is certainly a problem in the workplace and needs to be addressed immediately and correctly when a claim is made. Although there are laws already on the books, California decided to enact another law on sexual harassment called AB1825. This only frustrates me since companies already have to deal with existing laws not only on sexual harassment, but numerous others. Why reinvent the wheel?
I can speak from experience when I tell you that I dealt with one of the most complex sexual harassment claims ever when I was a Human Resources Director at a California hotel. This situation took place long before AB 1825 was ever even thought about, and the new law would not have changed anything about what took place. The sexual harassment policies that were a part of our organization and the training I conducted with our supervisors and regular staff was outstanding and more than complied with the laws on the books at the time.
I’ll never forget the day that employee came into my office and blurted out that her supervisor had raped her! I almost didn’t know how to react but what I was able to do was to ask her if she would like a female supervisor present while we discussed what had happened. I was very glad to hear her say yes to that question. Because it was a supervisor that she was accusing of raping her, the new AB1825 law would probably not made a difference since it is targeted at teaching supervisors what to try and prevent in the workplace.
The new law AB 1825 is directed at super visors being educated about sexual harassment and how to prevent it. When it came to the employee claiming she had been raped by her supervisor the law would not have mattered. Sexual harassment claims can get very complex depending on the situation and in this case it was extremely complex so getting at the truth was very important. People’s careers and emotions were at stake.
Getting at the truth anytime a charge of sexual harassment is made is a very important part of my job as Manager.
Getting at the truth anytime a charge of sexual harassment is made is a very important part of my job as Manager. As an example if we handle the charge incorrectly and charge someone with sexual harassment that didn’t really do anything wrong they may lose their family over it. On the other hand if we take it too lightly and do nothing the emotional state of the person being violated could have an impact on them for the rest of their lives. Getting at the truth is critical and sometimes very difficult. The new law really does nothing to address that anymore than the other ones that are already on the books
I have always believed that everyone should be free from any type of harassment in the workplace. When a person is at work they should always feel safe and companies have much to gain from making sure of that. When individuals feel good about their workplace and safe, they are more likely to produce more and produce it better.
Meeting the Training Requirements!
One of the rules that the new California Sexual Harassment law AB1825 requires is that supervisors receive training once every two years. As I understand this requirement is not based on a calendar year but a rolling calendar. Strictly from an administrative point of view this place a burden on employers to maintain accurate records for every supervisor that they have.
For the larger organizations it will mean that they will have to keep very good records of everyone's training dates so that they do not violate the two-year rule.
For those employers that have a limited number of supervisors complying with AB1825 will not be that difficult; however, for the larger organizations it will mean that they will have to keep very good records of everyone's training dates so that they do not violate the two year rule. I guess they could elect to do everyone on the same date each year but then you have those that may be sick, on vacation, or other reasons they cannot be present. Make up dates go on forever.
Does the government really understand the financial impact it can have on companies?
Whenever a new law like AB1825 comes out the government rarely has a complete idea of how it will impact organizations out there that must live with their decisions. Training every two years does not sound like an overwhelming amount of training on something as important as Sexual Harassment. And does the government really understand the financial impact it can have on companies that will now have to either train in house staff to conduct the training, or hire companies to do it for them.
True enough the new AB1825 sexual harassment law does create a whole new demand for specialized trainers and companies that can fulfill the government requirements. The only problem is that every expense that a company must put out has to be recouped somewhere. It boils down to simple mathematics in business and that is you either need to increase sales, increase the price, or reduce expenses. Often reducing expenses comes in the form of fewer employees.
Understand that complying with AB1825 is not an option!
So, by implementing the new AB1825 sexual harassment law requirements a company will be faced with increased expenses. Those expenses will come in the following ways; supervisors labor hours participating in classroom training, training expenses to produce quality training that the new law requires, potentially having to rent training centers to conduct the training in, training materials, time to track the training, and other costs that cannot even be considered at this point, such as legal analysis.
Understand that complying with AB1825 is not an option and I am very much a supporter of insuring that no one is sexually harassed in the work place. I have handled numerous claims of sexual harassment over my thirty plus years in management; however, the outcome of any of those claims would not have changed if they had occurred after the new law taking effect. The reason I believe this is because there are laws on the books already!
Thank you, good luck, and may God bless you!