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Labor & Employment Legal Alert
April 18, 2016              

Immediate Action Required: 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.

Dwight Armstrong Dwight L. Armstrong
Labor & Employment
Orange County
(949) 851-5424
(949) 553-8354 (fax)
Email Dwight

Alana Thorbourne Alana U. Thorbourne
Labor & Employment | Litigation | Class Actions
Los Angeles
(213) 955-5661
(213) 620-8816 (fax)
Email Alana

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