What Californian businesses need to know about AB1825

John Sherman

Do you want to learn more about AB1825 and how this affects your business?

This employment law came to fruition in September 2004, when Californian Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger put his signature to the bill.

This law is all to do with preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and how businesses can promote an inclusive and safe office environment.

The law came into effect back in January 2005, requiring all employers and companies who have 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training at least once every two years.

This continual training should be a total of two hours and be provided to supervisors within the business. It’s important to note that two hours of training doesn’t have to be consecutive – it can be over the course of a few days or even months. In other words, it’s a total figure.

In addition, while the definition of a supervisor is not specified, it generally means someone that has authority over other employees and has a responsibility towards them.

The number of 50 employees can also include full-time and part-time staff, as well as contractors that are even based outside of California.

Why Was This Law Introduced?

AB1825 was a big deal when it was first introduced and continues to have an impact on businesses in California today. It was a big step towards tackling the issues of harassment in the workplace, particularly towards women.

The aim of this law was to make sexual harassment prevention training mandatory and a continuous area for improvement. Its goal was to cover issues of sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and retaliation.

This is all known as unlawful and unacceptable behavior and by teaching the federal and state statutory provisions, as well as the impact of these actions on individuals, these situations can be prevented in the future.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Everyone in an office, from supervisors down to new employees, should know the signs of harassment and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. In some cases, people are unaware their actions will be constituted as sexual harassment and against the law.

That is why it’s essential to learn what is classed as sexual harassment and work to remove these actions from the workplace. In a general sense, sexual harassment can be verbal to another employee, a physical action or a written, inappropriate message.

The following actions will constitute sexual harassment:

  • Sexually suggestive remarks towards another, including jokes.
  • Physical contact that is deemed unprofessional and inappropriate. This can include touching, grabbing and hugging that makes another person feel upset, uncomfortable or nervous.
  • Asking invasive and prying questions about another employee’s personal life, sexuality or appearance.
  • Watching and staring at another employee and making them feel uneasy and uncomfortable.

Knowing what will be classed as sexual harassment allows employees to think about their own actions, as well as identify unacceptable behavior if they witness it.

The law in California means that an employer and company will be held liable for any unlawful sexual harassment by an employee towards another – even if they don’t know about it.

This means that letting your employees know what constitutes harassment will also lower the risk of lawsuits and problems for your business.

The Importance of Sexual Harassment Training in the Workplace

Unfortunately, the statistics and even major news headlines, show that sexual harassment still exists in the workplace. This is an issue everyone wants to tackle and one of the best ways to do this is through education, starting from the top, down to the employees.

Incidents at work, such as sexual harassment, can ruin working relations and bring down team morale, as well as effecting productivity.

Not only will this have an impact on company success, but it will also mean expensive litigation. Most importantly, these incidents can make employees feel unsafe in their place of work.

Sexual harassment training can highlight how you can identify bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment, in order for it to be tackled appropriately.

By demonstrating the impact these incidents can have on an individual, more can be done to prevent situations from happening in the future.

In addition, working to remove the stigma around reporting situations of sexual harassment will encourage more people to come forward.

How Online E-Learning Courses Can Help Your Workplace

Online sexual harassment training courses can satisfy the requirements of AB1825, which means that California businesses should consider this option seriously. E-learning courses can offer a host of advantages over traditional training.

For the company, online courses are cost-effective and save money on hiring instructors or sending employees on conferences. They’re more convenient and can be completed anytime, without interrupting the daily running of business.

Also, you can choose a sexual harassment training course and add it to your LMS straightaway, ready to use. It’s simple.

Most importantly, online e-learning courses are worthwhile and offer valuable information that can prevent unlawful conduct and harassment.

Through a wealth of memorable videos, real-life scenarios and interactive quizzes, employees can learn everything they need to know in an engaging course right from their own desk.

From an employer’s point of view, these online courses can help you to keep track of what supervisors are completing their two hours of training.

This is very useful, as new supervisors are being hired and promoted all the time and it’s essential they receive their training within six months of joining the company.

Ultimately, sexual harassment prevention training can help to bring unlawful situations to light and promote a safer working environment for everyone – we can all work together to achieve this.

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