October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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October 15, 2021

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California Employers Must Update Harassment and Discrimination Policies

Effective April 1, 2016, new California regulations require employers to develop a written, detailed harassment and discrimination prevention and correction policy. For some time, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") has imposed an affirmative duty on employers to prevent and correct harassing or discriminatory conduct. To provide guidance and to clarify what employers must do to fulfill that duty, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") has promulgated new regulations mandating that anti-harassment policies include certain provisions and procedural standards.

Requirements for Written Policies

Specifically, employers must maintain a written harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention and correction policy that includes at least the following items:

  • Lists all current protected categories covered under the FEHA;

  • Explains that prohibited conduct applies to all managers, supervisors, coworkers and third-parties who come into contact with employees;

  • States that all complaints will be handled by qualified personnel who will provide a timely, fair and complete investigation;

  • Provides that the employer will maintain confidentiality, to the extent possible;

  • Provides for a documentation and tracking procedure to ensure reasonable progress of complaints;

  • States that the employer will seek appropriate remedial actions and resolutions for all complaints;

  • Provides a complaint procedure that allows the employee to report harassment to someone other than a direct supervisor;

  • Requires that supervisors report all complaints to a designated company representative; and 

  • Makes that clear employees will not be retaliated against for reporting harassment or for participating in an investigation.

Employers must distribute their new policy to all current and new employees, and employers with 50 or more employees are required to include these topics in their mandated sexual harassment prevention training. 

Review Policies to Ensure Compliance

View complete text of Section 11203 of the California Code of Regulations. Most employers already have a harassment prevention policy in place, but their current policies are probably missing one or more of the provisions required by these new regulations. Accordingly, employers should review and revise their harassment prevention and correction policy to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

© 2010-2021 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 109
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About this Author

Dwight L. Armstrong, Employment litigator, Allen Matkins Law Firm
Partner

Dwight L. Armstrong is a partner in the firm's Orange County office. Dwight manages the firm's Labor and Employment Law Practice Group and is experienced in both litigation and transactional matters. He represents employers and management with a wide variety of employment litigation, ranging from wrongful termination and employment discrimination lawsuits to wage and hour class actions. Dwight has also handled numerous trade secret, no-solicitation and unfair competition cases. In addition, Dwight’s practice involves substantial preventative counseling and advice,...

949-851-5424
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