Heads up: California has recently passed several new laws relating to illegal harassment, including sexual harassment.new sexual harassment laws

The first is AB 1443, which extends protections against discrimination and harassment in the Fair Employment and Housing Act to unpaid interns and participants in apprenticeship training programs.

The second is AB 2053. That law amends AB 1825 (Cal. Govt. Code § 12950.1), which provides for mandatory two-hour-minimum sexual harassment prevention training for California supervisors for companies with 50 or more employees/independent contractors. (Here’s more information about AB 1825.) AB 2053 adds another topic to be discussed during the AB 1825 training – that of preventing “abusive conduct” in the workplace. Note that AB 2053 does not make abusive workplace conduct grounds for a lawsuit. (Unless of course, that abusive conduct is or appears to be based on a protected category such as sex, race, or sexual orientation, in which case it’s probably illegal under FEHA already.) Instead, it specifies that the AB 1825 training must include information about preventing abusive workplace conduct. The statute specifically defines abusive conduct and provides examples of what it is – and what it isn’t.

Both of these statutes are effective beginning January 1, 2015. And they may have a third statute joining them: SB 1087. That bill would require additional sexual harassment prevention training and provides stricter penalties for farm workers, supervisors and contractors. SB 1087 has currently passed both the California Assembly and State Senate and is pending Governor Brown’s signature or veto.

Update: here’s an article I was interviewed for about AB 2053 in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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