Reminder: Significant FEHA Amendments Effective April 1

Mar 30 2016 - Discrimination, Harassment - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

ActionNeededEmployers take note: after months of public comment and revisions, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council adopted amendments to its Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations.

These amendments go into effect April 1, 2016, and reinforce state law that it’s an employer’s affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct.

The Fair Employment and Housing Council’s website has the text of the amendments, along with the Council’s statement of reasons for proposing the amendments.

New Policy Requirements

Among other regulatory updates — such as new obligations for mandatory supervisor training and new definitions of gender expression/identity — the amended rules now require all California employers to have a written discrimination, harassment and retaliation prevention policy that includes specific provisions. In addition to creating a prevention policy, employers must continue to distribute the mandatory sexual harassment pamphlet to all employees, as required by existing law (2 Calif. Code of  Regs. sec. 11023(b)).

Since harassment is a major source of litigation in California, you’ll want to be absolutely clear on your compliance requirements.

Pregnancy Disability Leave Notice

In addition, California’s notice obligations relating to pregnancy disability leave (PDL) will change on April 1.  In the past, employers with 5 to 49 employees posted a PDL notice — often referred to as “Notice A.” And employers with 50 or more employees posted a combined California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and PDL notice — often referred to as “Notice B.”  This has now changed.

Under recent amendments to both the PDL regulations (effective 4/1/2016) and the CFRA regulations (effective last year on 7/1/2015), the following notice requirements now apply:

  • Employers with 5 or more employees must post the PDL notice — “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee” (revision date 4/1/2016). This notice replaces the former Notice A, and it satisfies your PDL posting requirements.
  • Employers with 50 or more employees must post the CFRA notice — “Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave” (revision date 7/1/2015). This notice replaced the former Notice B, and it satisfies your CFRA posting requirements.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber members can access an up-to-date Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Prevention Sample Policy for free.  Access it now in English or Spanish. Not a member? A sample policy is also available on the CalChamber store or as part of CalChamber’s Employee Handbook Creator. CalChamber’s Employee Handbook Creator can help you create and maintain a well-crafted employee handbook, including new mandatory changes effective April 1, 2016.

Additionally, stay current with CalChamber’s 2016 California and Federal Employment Notices Poster, which has been updated with the revised mandatory pregnancy disability leave notice for April 1, 2016.

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