The Fair Employment and Housing Council amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and compliance is required by April 1, 2016. In addition to the already-existing requirement for employers to distribute the FEHA brochure on sexual harassment, employers must now provide written harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policies. These policies must:
- be in writing,
- list the categories of protected workers,
- indicate that the law prohibits supervisors, managers, coworkers and third parties who come into contact with an employee from engaging in prohibited conduct,
- create a complaint process that does not require an employee to complain to his or her immediate supervisor and ensures the complaints receive confidential, timely and impartial investigations by qualified personnel,
- instruct supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative who will investigate the allegations of misconduct in a manner that is fair, timely and thorough.
- include translations if more than 10% of employees speak a foreign language.
These new requirements are intended to create easy-to-understand procedures for employees. To ensure employees know about the policies, employers may disseminate the policies by providing a copy upon hire, posting it in the workplace, or obtaining a written acknowledgment from each employee that receives the policies. Although the regulations do not provide penalties for a failure to maintain compliant policies, employers should review their existing policies and make any necessary changes before April 1, 2016, to prevent and minimize any additional damages for claims brought by employees related to these policies.