Halting Bullies At the Work Place – New California Law Requires Anti-Bullying Training

Last summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB-2053, which requires California employers with 50 or more employees to provide workforce bullying training in addition to the required sexual harassment training.  This training is now mandated for employers beginning January 1, 2015.  

Pursuant to AB-2053, employers must now provide the anti-bullying training in conjunction with the two hours of mandated sexual harassment training to supervisory employees every two years.  Under the bill, “abusive conduct” is defined as conduct “that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”  In addition to this definition, the bill also provides examples of abusive conduct, including derogatory remarks and insults; threatening, intimidating or humiliating verbal or physical conduct.

Despite the new training mandate, the law does not provide for the ability to sue for the actual bullying.  However, failing to provide the training for abusive conduct can subject an employer to an order requiring compliance from the Fair Employment and Housing Commission.