Nicole Rice

Senate Labor Committee to hear measures on California's sexual harassment policies

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, April 6, 2018

CMTA is opposed to a measure that seeks to change the legal standards for filing a claim for harassment and discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. SB 1300 (Hanna Beth Jackson-D, Santa Barbara) will substitute well established legal principles (like requiring a plaintiff to have standing in order to bring a claim) with subjective requirements that will result in greater litigation exposure for manufacturers. In addition to expanding sexual harassment training to all employees and every employer, SB 1300 also creates a new bystander intervention training mandate to train individuals to intervene and come to the aid of another at the workplace.

Training employees on how to recognize and report sexual harassment in the workplace is an appropriate responsibility of the employer; training employees to intervene when witnessing harassment or discrimination is not. By doing so, the bill essentially imposes a new legal obligation on individuals to act where none currently exists in law. Instances of harassment or discrimination are best elevated through the proper supervisory channels and not left for individual employees to handle on their own. Further, information on how to identify and report harassment or discrimination is more appropriately built into a company’s existing workplace safety programs and systems.

SB 1300 will be heard this Wednesday, April 11th, in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.

Also on the agenda is SB 1343 by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) that likewise requires all companies with five or more employees to train all their workers in sexual harassment prevention. CMTA is seeking amendments to the measure to improve the effectiveness of the proposed program and minimize litigation exposure. While CMTA appreciates the author’s approach to ensuring individuals are free from harassment and discrimination in the workplace, California manufacturers support policies that balance workplace protections with feasibility to facilitate compliance and preserve our competitiveness.

The final bill focused on expanding the state’s sexual harassment prevention policies is AB 3081 (Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher-D, San Diego).  That bill will be heard in Assembly Labor & Employment Committee on April 18th.

Read more Labor & Employment articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989