Employees have many rights in the workplace that protect them from being mistreated by their employers. These rights include protection from being denied employment or promotion, and even being treated unfairly in the workplace based on factors such as gender, race and other such traits. As of 2015, California employees will be able to take advantage of another protection: protection from workplace bullying.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, AB 2053 has gone into effect, which requires some California employers to include “prevention of abusive conduct” training in their legally mandated sexual harassment training. This abusive conduct is defined as conduct in the workplace that a person finds hostile, offensive or unrelated to the interests of the business. Such conduct may include verbal abuse or derogatory remarks, but the remarks do not necessarily have to be related to a protected characteristic.
Those who employ more than 49 employees will have to take notice of this new law, which many find necessary to combat what is seen as a growing epidemic across the country, that of an abusive work environment. Proponents of AB 2053 believe that reducing this hostility will lead to increased productivity and morale, as well as fewer workers? compensation claims and medical claims. The hope behind the training is that it will prevent abusive conduct before it starts.
It is worth mentioning that the law does not offer a private right of action for this abusive conduct, but the training is required, and employees can still take advantage of their many other rights offered by California law. Whether you are being bullied at work or facing discrimination because of your age, religion or disability, you could be entitled to compensation for your suffering.
Source: The National Law Review, “Sexual Harassment Training in California Must Now Include the ?Prevention of Abusive Conduct?-AB 2053” Carly B. Plaskin, Feb. 5, 2015