California Requires "Abusive Conduct" Training


CA Adds "Abusive Conduct" to Sexual Harassment Training for Supervisors


By: Dale Mask

Effective January 1, 2015, California employers required to provide sexual harassment training under AB 1825 must add prevention of "abusive conduct" to the training for supervisory employees. The new law, AB 2053, makes prevention of "abusive conduct" a required component of the sexual harassment training employers are currently required to provide under California law.

While the new law does not create a private right of action for abusive conduct – meaning an employee can’t file a lawsuit claiming abusive conduct - the law requires supervisory employees are trained on the prevention of abusive conduct in the workplace.

The new law defines "abusive conduct" as:

"[C]onduct 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 and proposed amendments to implementing regulations do not provide guidance on this portion of the required training that should be conducted. However, the proposed amendments suggest that the training should include "a discussion of the detrimental consequences of this conduct on employers" and should "specifically discuss" the elements of abusive conduct. Click here to Read the text of the California Assembly Bill 2053.

Employers should:

  • Revise training: Employers subject to AB 1825 should revise training materials and instruct trainers to incorporate "abusive conduct" in all harassment training sessions conducted as of January 1, 2015.

  • Revise policies – Employers with 50 or more employees should revise Employee Handbooks and anti-harassment policies incorporate the abusive conduct standard established by AB 2053.

  • Meet Training Requirements – As required by AB 1825 employers should ensure they provide the required training to new supervisors within six months of hiring or promotion, and that they repeat training every two years.

(Sexual harassment training is required by AB 1825 (enacted in 2004), which requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors located in California.)

Alliance Training has been incorporating the issues of abusive conduct and bullying into our onsite workplace harassment training for some time now.

By: Dale Mask

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