CHA News Article

Updated Discrimination, Harassment Regulations Take Effect April 1
Fair Employment & Housing Commission changes summarized

California’s Fair Employment & Housing Commission (FEHC) updated many of its regulations last year, including adding new sections and amending existing sections. All of these changes will take effect April 1. Major changes that will likely impact members are outlined below; most, if not all, will require modified policies and practices as well as updates to hospitals’ anti-discrimination or harassment training programs. Excerpts from the major updates and changes are attached, while the complete version of the recent amendments is available on the FEHC website.

  • A new section, 2 CCR § 11023, provides detailed requirements with respect to an employer’s harassment and discrimination prevention and correction activities. While much of this new regulation is already required by case law or best practice, it is important to recognize that these elements are now specifically required. For example, section 11023(b) requires employers to develop a written harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy with nine enumerated elements. The new regulation also requires various methods of distribution, in addition to translating the policy where 10 percent or more of the employees at a facility “speak a language other than English as their spoken language.”
  • Section 11024, related to sexual harassment training and education, was updated to provide further examples of “interactive training.” Employers must maintain a record of all written questions received and their responses for two years after the training as well as a sign-in sheet, a copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued, and a copy of all written or recorded materials that comprise the training — in addition to the existing requirements. Finally, section 11024 was amended to include the requirement set forth in Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2) to provide supervisors with information related to the negative effects of abusive conduct in the workplace and to specifically require the training to include notice of a supervisor’s obligation to report harassment, discrimination or retaliation.
  • Section 11028, pertaining to national origin and ancestry discrimination, was updated to include more detail on when an employer can require an employee to hold a driver’s license.
  • Section 11029, on sex discrimination, was expanded to include gender expression, gender identity and transgender (as well as definitions for each) in the section 11029(b) statement of purpose; FEHC also expanded the definition of sexual harassment.
  • Section 11035, related to pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions, was amended to clarify that pregnancy disability leave need not be taken in one continuous period of time and that employees are eligible for up to four months of leave period per pregnancy, not per year. Similarly, the obligation to continue group health coverage is determined per pregnancy. Section 11049 — “Employer Notice to Employees of Rights and Obligations for Reasonable Accommodation, To Transfer and To Take Pregnancy Disability Leave” — was also clarified to require various methods of distribution, including translating the notice where required. Notably, FEHC eliminated “Notice B,” which previously combined the pregnancy disability leave and California Family Right Act notice. FEHC modified “Notice A” but will retain it for employers’ use if it accurately reflects their policy.
  • Section 11059-11062, on religious creed discrimination, was updated to include recent developments in the law.
  • Some aspects of section 11064, pertaining to disability discrimination, were clarified — including, but not limited to, expressly stating that the interactive process requires an individualized inquiry, amending the definition of “assistive animal” and expressly prohibiting retaliation against an employee who requests a reasonable accommodation, regardless of whether the request is granted.
  • Section 11075 pertaining to age discrimination was reorganized.
  • Section 11100 – 11132, related to contractor nondiscrimination and compliance, was updated and amended.