California Discrimination and Harassment Farm Labor Law Updates

California Discrimination and Harassment Farm Labor Law Updates

Fair Pay Act Expansion (AB 46): This law prohibits any type of wage discrimination on the basis of race, gender or ethnicity to public employers. The previous California law only covered private employers. This is a major difference.
Discrimination complaints (SB 306): This law updates & expands the judicial authority & power of the state’s labor commissioner, to pursue anti-discrimination complaints in the workplace. This updated law allows the commissioner to obtain a court order prohibiting Ca. state employer’s from terminating an employee, before completing a comprehensive incident investigation, or determining if retaliation or discrimination has occurred against a worker.
Harassment training expansion (SB 396): Since 2005 California law required employers with 50 or more employees must provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years. Beginning Jan. 1, the two-hour harassment training must also cover harassment based on all types of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, much like the original class, new updates require role-playing, lecture, Q & A. The qualified instructor must have knowledge and expertise in these expanded areas. Employers must also display a state-developed poster on transgender rights, in plain sight of all employees.
Training for farm labor contractors (SB 295): Sexual-harassment prevention training must also be provided to receive a farm labor contractor’s license. Training must be conducted or interpreted into a language understood by employees, and the state labor commissioner must receive a complete list of sexual harassment-prevention seminar materials provided during the training class, including the number of employees trained.

California Farm Laborers

California agricultural farms generally employ over 400,000 workers a year, with the majority of these workers supplied by farm labor contractors. California recently revised Labor Code section 1684, governing the licensing of labor contractors, to increase training requirements for employers, their supervisors and all of the contractors’ agricultural employees. 
The new Section 1684 provides that farm labor contractors may not obtain licenses unless they satisfy these conditions:
  • The applicant must pass a written exam, demonstrating that they understand current laws pertaining to the farming venue, including those concerning “the identification and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
  • New applicants must provide a written certification that its managerial  employees, including team leaders, have been trained “for at least two hours each calendar year in the prevention of sexual harassment.” 
  • In addition, all non-supervisory employees—including agricultural laborers—must receive training at the time of hire, as well as “at least once every two years in identifying, preventing and reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.” Employers must document all seminar sessions, including the names of the trainer and employees, and maintain these documents for three years. 
  • Besides progressing thru these employee training requirements, applicants for a farm laborer contract license , must enroll in a minimum of nine hours of relevant educational classes each year. Of these nine hours, a minimum of one hour of class time must be directed to sexual harassment training. 
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