The 2018 session of the General Assembly started last week and increasing workplace training is a top priority for passage.
Indeed, it is not surprising that we’re starting to see the first proposed legislation to address the number of harassment claims that have been making headlines the last six months.
Governor’s Bill 5043 sets up the following changes:
- First, it would increase the number of employers that need to provide anti-harassment training — resetting the number of employees needed to fall under the statute from 50 to 15.
- Second, the bill would also require all employees (not just supervisors and managers) to undergo two hours of what it calls “awareness and anti-harassment compliance training” and have that training updated every five years.
- The training that now is just focused on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace, but would also be expanded to include all types of harassment—including that based on race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, and national origin.
- The training would also be required to include information about the employer’s policy against harassment, examples of the types of conduct that constitute and do not constitute harassment, strategies to prevent harassment, bystander intervention training and a discussion of “workplace civility” that shall include what is acceptable and expected behavior in the workplace.
- The bill would require employers of three or more employees to continue to post information regarding all types of harassment and, on an annual basis, to “directly communicate such information and remedies to employees on an annual basis”.
My best guess is that this item of legislation will go through some additional tweaks to satisfy various constituencies, particularly because of the increased costs involved.
For example, expanding the training to all employees would create a massive new industry for training and, as the CBIA has said, a costly mandate as well.
There is more legislation coming down the pike in the employment law area. This is just one of the items being floated so stay tuned.