New 2 C.C.R. § 11023 Takes Effect April 1, 2016

Beginning April 1, 2016, California employers are required to distribute two forms of writing designed to prevent harassment and discrimination. First, employers must distribute the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (“DFEH”) Form 185 brochure to all employees. To download a copy of this form, click here. Second, employers must distribute written policies outlining the employer’s prevention plan and standards for resolving internal complaints for perceived violations of the Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”).

The employer’s written policy must specifically contain the following:

  • A list of all protected classes under FEHA, including gender, race, religion, disability, gender identity, and gender expression, among others;
  • A statement that the law prohibits coworkers, third parties, supervisors, and managers from engaging in conduct prohibited by FEHA;
  • An assurance that an employee’s FEHA complaint will be treated as confidential to the extent possible; and
  • Descriptions of the employer’s internal complaint investigation process ensuring a timely response, a timely and impartial investigation by a qualified person, documentation and tracking of reasonable progress, appropriate remedial actions, and timely resolution.

To download a sample policy, click here.

In addition, it is no longer permissible for the employer’s written policy to provide that FEHA complaints be reported solely to the employee’s direct supervisor. Employees must be advised of their option to report their FEHA complaints to other sources, such as Human Resources or an ombudsperson.

These new regulations reflect the DFEH’s revived emphasis on training and prevention of legal claims. Consistent with those goals, the new regulation now requires workplace investigation logistics to be covered in the biennial sexual harassment training currently required for supervisors at companies with 50 or more employees.