On September 9, 2014, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill requiring California employers to provide anti-bullying training to all supervisors/managers. This new bill, AB-2053, goes into effect on January 1, 2015.
Current California law requires all employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors/managers every two years. Under the new bill, these same employers must “include prevention of abusive conduct as a component of the training.”
The bill defines “abusive conduct” as conduct “with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” The bill gives examples of abusive conduct to 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.” The bill also states that a “single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”
Employers who fail to train supervisors and managers on anti-bullying procedures are subject to an order by the Fair Employment and Housing Commission requiring compliance.
Many California employers are already providing broad training to employees to include illegal discrimination and harassment as well as other unlawful conduct such as what is mentioned above. Companies with employees in California should review their current training programs prior to January to make sure they are in compliance with the new requirements of AB-2053.