Welcome to 2015 and the start of California’s Anti-Bullying Training Requirements. Employers of 50 or more in California must now add an “anti-bullying” training requirement to their training curriculum, which is required to be delivered every two years to supervisory personnel regarding harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

The “anti-bullying” training is meant to combat “abusive conduct” in the workplace, which is defined as:

…. the conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

The law doesn’t define “derogatory remark” or “insult” nor does it define “gratuitous sabotage” or explain what it means to undermine a person’s work performance. California employers will certainly need guidance regarding how all of these terms are consistent with appropriate performance management.  We hope California’s mandated “bully-free” workplace doesn’t open a can of wrongful discharge claims.