The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has adopted new regulations regarding the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), effective as of April 1, 2016. The DFEH issued a summary of the new employment regulations, including the following important addition:
Written Policy Requirements
California employers with five or more employees have an affirmative duty to take “reasonable” steps to prevent and correct discrimination and harassment. Under the new regulations, employers must create detailed written policies for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Policy requirements include:
- Listing of all protected groups under the FEHA;
- Allowance for employees to report to someone other than a direct supervisor;
- Instructing supervisors to report all complaints;
- A statement that all complaints will be followed by a fair, complete and timely investigation;
- A statement that remedial action will be taken if any misconduct is found.
Under the new regulations, an employer must distribute its prevention policies to all current and future employees. If 10% or more of the workers in a given location speak a language other than English, an employer must also translate its policies into those alternative languages.
Other areas addressed as part of the new employment regulations include:
- Definitions Regarding Sex and Gender: Specific definitions are provided for gender expression, gender identity, sex, sex stereotype and transgender persons.
- Reasonable Accommodations: An individualized assessment is required to determine the need for accommodation.
- Pregnancy: Harassment as it applies to an employee or applicant due to pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or any related medical condition is defined; and eligibility for up to four months of leave per pregnancy is outlined.
- Religious Discrimination: The duty to accommodate an individual’s religion is clarified.
- Anti-Bullying Training: Training requirements for California employers with fifty or more employees have been added, including investigation of complaints, duty to report, and elements and effects of abusive conduct.
Click here for a full summary of the new additions to the DFEH regulations.
For more extensive information on California laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, visit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) employment webpage.