California Tightens Up Anti-Discrimination Regulations
New Anti-Discrimination Regulations In Effect For The Golden State
California: where dreams are made and regulators are getting tougher!
April 1st held a more serious note for employers in California and they are no joke.
New regulations for California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) took effect requiring employers to develop written anti-discrimination and harassment policies that meet numerous new and detailed requirements covering anti-discrimination and harassment.
These new requirements aim to tighten up existing policies that California employers already have under existing codes to take reasonable steps to prevent and quickly correct any harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
These tougher regulations require policies:
- To be in writing in all languages that represent 10% of the employee population
- List all the categories of people protected by the new regulations of FEHA
- Clearly indicate that employees, third parties, supervisors and managers are prohibited from engaging in any conduct relating to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation
- Provide a process to file complaints and ensure they are anonymous and confidential, responded to quickly, investigated by appropriate personnel, documented, and tracked
- Establish a system for receiving complaints, like a hotline where the employee can remain completely anonymous
- Instruct supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, or the hotline, so the company can try to resolve the claim internally
- Make clear that any allegations of misconduct will be addressed through a fair, timely, and thorough investigation
- Make it known and understood that confidentiality will be kept by the employer to the best extent possible
- Make it clear that if misconduct is found during the investigation, appropriate remedial measures shall be taken
- Make clear that the company will not retaliate against employees for filing a complaint or participating in an investigation
As well, these new regulations now affect employers with five or more employees no matter their location. Previous regulations indicated that employers with fewer than five employees working inside California were not subject to these regulations.
Now, employers must also include any employee into the ‘five’ threshold who works for the company and is located outside of California.
However, these employees who are out of state are not covered by the protections of the new regulations if the misconduct happened out of state.
California employers should ensure that their company policies and practices are in compliance with the new regulations and are appropriately distributed to covered employees.
They should also ensure they have a reporting mechanism set up.