Highly-publicized revelations about extensive workplace harassment have cost many alleged harassers their high-powered positions (including US Senator Al Franken), and are producing a variety of proposals to toughen standards. One of the first new provisions was enacted by the U.S. Senate on November 9. The Senate Anti-Harassment Training Resolution of 2017 (S.Res. 330) will require anti-harassment training in Senate offices. The Resolution applies to internal governance of the Senate, so does not apply to any other body, such as the House of Representatives (where House Resolution 630, requiring annual training by each member, officer and employee in employee rights, including anti-harassment and anti-discrimination, was passed on November 29 but is being reconsidered).Read More
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
Last year, the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) adopted a requirement that employers with five or more employees create detailed written policies for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. This month, DFEH issued detailed guidance addressing these anti-harassment requirements. These new guidelines should be required reading for California employers, and non-California employers should take the opportunity to compare their own efforts against these recommended best practices.
What Are California’s Harassment Prevention Requirements?
Effective April 1, 2016, DFEH regulations require California employers with five or more employees to create detailed written policies for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. DFEH claims finds authority for this requirement in the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibitions against discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and in FEHA’s requirement that employers “take reasonable
steps to prevent and correct wrongful (harassing, discriminatory, retaliatory) behavior in the workplace.”
Anti-harassment policies must do all of the following:
By Paul Marshall and Karen MasulloRead More
Health care and social service workers suffer workplace violence at much higher rates than in most other sectors, because of the higher risk from their patients and clients. In response, worker protection laws and regulations have begun to require workplace violence prevention in these sectors. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) just adopted a new regulation, implementing 2014 legislation that expands state requirements for hospital security plans, to include specified workplace violence prevention programs. Compliance begins in phases during 2017-2018, and will be administered by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)).Read More
The time has come to shift our thinking about how to prevent violent attacks in the workplace. Business as usual will not keep our workplaces safe from terrorist attacks.Read More
The reality is that suicide rates in the U.S. have gone up considerably in recent years, claiming an average of 36,000 lives annually.1 While most suicides take place at, or near, a person’s home, suicide on the job is also increasing according to federal researchers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that workplace suicides rose to 282 in 2013 reaching the highest level since the numbers have been reported by the occupational fatality census. In 2014, the suicide rate went down slightly to 271, which is the second highest level since the records have been kept. The annual average number of suicide deaths that occurred at work during the time period 2003 – 2014 is 237. Between 2003 and 2014 there were a total of 2,848 suicide deaths that occurred at work.2 The rise in suicide rates at work is even more significant when taken in the context that overall homicides in the workplace have been steadily decreasing since the mid-nineties.Read More
Employees in the health care and social service sectors suffer workplace violence at much higher rates than in most other sectors, largely because of the higher risk from their patients and clients. In response to these risks, worker protection agencies and professional organizations have developed guidelines for workplace violence prevention in these sectors. Increasingly, worker protection laws and regulations are being revised to require these activities. Most recently, in December 2015 California has proposed to expand state requirements for security plans to include explicit workplace violence prevention programs.
Existing Requirements For Security Plans
It’s exceedingly difficult to predict workplace violence, and there is no easy solution to stop it altogether, however, reference checking is a preventative step that employers can take to reduce the risk. I would add that, in my professional opinion, many workplace violence incidents could be prevented if employers took the necessary precautions before an incident actually unfolded.Read More
A manager reports to you that one of your workers, Joe, has admitted to a problem with alcohol. Or perhaps there’s an accident in the workplace and the ensuing investigation reveals that Jane is a regular drug user. Or John arrives at the office, once again unfit to do his job because he’s “under the influence.”Read More
Federal laws prohibit employers from basing employment decisions on a variety of factors, including “sex.” This term is not defined, leaving its interpretation to change and expand with social changes and court decisions. The central entity creating and applying these interpretations is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which administers and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a variety of subsequent laws. On July 15, EEOC reaffirmed its present interpretation, in an enforcement decision in which the plaintiff claimed he was denied access to a promotion because he’s gay (Baldwin v. Foxx). The EEOC’s order includes a clear summary of the agency’s approach to sex discrimination cases: