Get Ready For New FEHA Regulations Effective April 1, 2016

By lfsuser on March 01, 2016

New amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) Regulations will take effect on April 1, 2016.

Generally, the FEHA applies to California employers with 5 or more full or part-time employees. The law prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of various protected characteristics, including, age, race, religion, gender, and disability. It also requires employers to engage in the interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for an employee who is disabled, and to accommodate the employee. Further, the law prohibits retaliation against an employee who engages in a protected activity, such as requesting an accommodation or objecting to conduct prohibited by the FEHA.

The amendments to the FEHA cover a wide range of topics. Below is a non-exclusive list of changes that will take effect on April 1st:

  • Change to who is covered as an “employee” and as an “employer” under the FEHA.
  • A rule that will allow the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) to obtain “non-monetary preventative remedies” against an employer, even if there is no evidence of underlying discrimination or harassment.
  • Clarification of what constitutes actionable harassment under the FEHA and basis for co-worker liability.
  • A requirement for contents, dissemination and translation of harassment, discrimination and anti-retaliation policies.

In summary, the amended Regulations will cause more employers to be covered under the FEHA. They will impose a greater burden on employers and have the potential to increase both administrative actions and private lawsuits. To comply and reduce risk, employers should review current policies and practices, including employee handbooks. A copy of the amendments may be found at: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/FEHC/FinalText.pdf.

This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. It is intended to provide general information about legal developments and is not legal advice. If you have questions about the contents of this alert, please contact Oleg I. Albert at (415) 697-2000 or oalbert@aghwlaw.com.