In April 2016, amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that require employers to maintain detailed, written anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies went into effect.
Last month, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released a Workplace Harassment Guide for California Employers. The guide was produced by the DFEH to provide guidance to California employers concerning their obligation to “take reasonable steps to prevent and correct wrongful (harassing, discriminatory, retaliatory) behavior in the workplace” (Cal. Govt. Code §12940(k)) and comply with the regulations enacted in April 2016.
The guide outlines the hallmarks of an effective and compliant anti-harassment program, which include:
- A clear and easy to understand written policy.
- Buy in from management and supervisors.
- Training for supervisors and managers (mandated under California law if your business has 50 employees).
- Specialized training for employees who handle complaints of harassment.
- Policies and procedures for responding to and investigating complaints.
- Prompt, thorough and fair investigations of complaints.
- Prompt and fair remedial action.
The guide also provides detailed steps on how to conduct an investigation into workplace harassment, including tips on how to conduct an investigation that is fair to all parties.
The guide is a great resource for employers and is worth a review by HR Managers, supervisors, and upper-level management generally. It also serves as a great reminder to check your policies to ensure your business is in compliance with the April 2016 regulations, make sure your supervisors are receiving proper training, and prepare your business to handle a complaint of workplace harassment in a prompt, thorough, and fair manner.
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