Nicole Rice

Sexual harassment bills head to Governor

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Sept. 4, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

As the 2018 legislative season concluded last week, the Legislature sent a suite of eight sexual harassment bills to the Governor for signature or veto. CMTA was unable to support many of those proposals because they expanded responsibilities and liabilities on manufacturers in a way that incentivizes meritless claims that will only succeed in driving up litigation costs. 

However, manufacturers were able to support one measure - SB 1343 by Senator Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) - as the industry’s preferred approach to addressing sexual harassment offenses because it strikes a balance between increasing workplace protections and sensitivities with avoiding legal pitfalls that promote noncompliance that leads to litigation. The bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support in both the Assembly and Senate.

Currently, California manufacturers with 50 or more employees are required to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment classroom, or other effective interactive, training and education to all supervisors within six months of assuming the position and every two years thereafter.  SB 1343 expands training to any company with five or more employees and requires that both supervisors and non-supervisors receive education on the rights, protections and remedies related to sexual harassment and discrimination law.  The bill also instructs the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop (or obtain) an online training course that can be utilized to satisfy an employer's training mandate. This option will especially assist smaller manufacturers with compliance who would otherwise incur additional costs and administrative burdens to meet this new provision.

CMTA urges the Governor to sign this targeted solution to help prevent sexual harassment and discrimination before it even begins. The most effective approach to combating workplace harassment and discrimination is the consistent implementation of a transparent and well-communicated education program.

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