Preventing Workplace Bullying « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Preventing Workplace Bullying

Abusive Conduct Prevention Training
Now Required Every Two Years

Effective January 1, 2015, a California employer must include prevention of abusive conduct as a component of legally-mandated sexual harassment training and education. (Assembly Bill [AB] 2053).

Existing law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees in California once every two years. This training must include information and practical guidance regarding federal and state law prohibiting and preventing workplace sexual harassment and the remedies available to sexual harassment victims. As of January, 2015, such training must address workplace bullying.

California does not require the boss to be nice or that workers be nice to each other, but there is a line that cannot be crossed. The law defines “abusive conduct” as an employer or co-employee’s actions which a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to an employer’s business interests. Such conduct may include repeated verbal abuse, including derogatory remarks, insults and terms; verbal or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating or humiliating nature; or the sabotage or undermining of another’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct unless especially severe and egregious.

Thus, it is not unlawful for a boss to yell or curse at someone simply for poor job performance so long as such conduct is not tied to established harassment and discrimination categories such as sex, religion or race. It is of course another question whether aiming anger at an employee for messing up is unwise in certain circumstances. One possible result of AB 2053’s training requirement will be to raise awareness and responsibility of supervisors and workers alike toward maintaining a productive workplace.

Since 2011, the Law Offices of Timothy Bowles has addressed abusive conduct in its sexual harassment prevention training, including a sample anti-bullying workplace policy. Our interactive seminar can be delivered in two ways.

At your location: For larger companies, we can provide an on-site seminar at your place of business for a flat fee.

Scheduled location: We periodically provide our own hosted seminar for individual supervisors to attend locally. The fee is per attendee. Online registration is available.

For more information about our harassment prevention training or workplace forms and policies, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin  at (626)583-6600.