BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”

                                                                  AB 2053
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          AB 2053 (Gonzalez)
          As Introduced  February 20, 2014
          Majority vote 

           LABOR & EMPLOYMENT          7-0 APPROPRIATIONS      14-3        
          |Ayes:|Roger HernŠndez, Grove,   |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
          |     |Alejo, Chau, Gorell,      |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |Holden,                   |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |
          |     |Ridley-Thomas             |     |Eggman, Gomez, Holden,    |
          |     |                          |     |Linder, Pan, Quirk,       |
          |     |                          |     |Ridley-Thomas, Wagner,    |
          |     |                          |     |Weber                     |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |     |                          |Nays:|Bigelow, Donnelly, Jones  |
          |     |                          |     |                          |

           SUMMARY  :  Amends existing law related to sexual harassment  
          training to include prevention of "abusive conduct," as  
          specified.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires existing training and education regarding sexual  
            harassment to include prevention of "abusive conduct" as a  
            component of the training and education.

          2)Defines "abusive conduct" to mean conduct of an employer or  
            employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable  
            person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an  
            employer's legitimate business interests.  Abusive conduct may  
            include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use  
            of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or  
            physical conduct that a reasonable person would find  
            threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous  
            sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance.

          3)Specifies that a single act shall not constitute abusive  
            conduct, unless especially severe or egregious.

           EXISTING LAW  :


                                                                  AB 2053
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          1)Requires an employer with 50 or more employees to provide at  
            least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive  
            training an education regarding sexual harassment to all  
            supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of  
            a supervisory position.

          2)Requires an employer to provide sexual harassment training and  
            education to each supervisory employee once every two years.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, this bill will result in minor costs to update  
          existing sexual harassment training.  In addition, the bill will  
          result in minor and absorbable costs to Department of Fair  
          Employment and Housing related to enforcement of this measure. 

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, numerous studies have shown  
          that abusive work environments can have serious effects on  
          targeted employees, including feelings of shame and humiliation,  
          stress, loss of sleep, severe anxiety, depression and many other  
          stress-related disorders and diseases.  The effects of workplace  
          bullying are not limited to the employees. Employers suffer too.  
           Abusive work environments can reduce productivity and morale,  
          which may lead to higher absenteeism rates, frequent turnover,  
          and even increases in medical and workers' compensation claims. 

          The author states that current laws already protect employees  
          from abusive treatment at work on the basis of race, color, sex,  
          national origin, and age.  However, "bullying" does not always  
          qualify under any of these categories, and targeted workers  
          remain vulnerable.  This bill aims to prevent workplace bullying  
          by requiring the inclusion of training and education of "abusive  
          conduct" to the already required sexual harassment training that  
          every supervisor of entities with more than 50 employees has to  
          go through every two years.   

          Supporters argue that this bill takes a measured approach to the  
          problem.  Rather than being punitive, the bill seeks to prevent  
          this from happening in the first place by educating managers.   
          Moreover, it couples this education with sexual harassment  
          training as it is not uncommon for the two problems to occur  
          hand in hand.

          The California Association for Health Services at Home opposes  
          this bill and states that nothing prevents an employer from  


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          incorporating into existing harassment programs further training  
          relative to abusive conduct.  However, if enacted, this bill  
          would increase employer costs through the establishment of a new  
          employer mandate.

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ben Ebbink / L. & E. / (916) 319-2091 

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