California Imposes Additional Requirements to Address Sexual Harassment of Agricultural Field Workers
October 8, 2014
On January 1, 2015, farm labor contractors will have to comply with a number of additional requirements directed at preventing the sexual harassment of field workers. The written examination for licensees will now include questions concerning the identification and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Licensees will be required to take at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training each year as part of their educational class requirement. License applicants will also now need to confirm that their employees have received sexual harassment prevention training, as follows:
(1) supervisorial employees, including any supervisor, crewleader, mayordomo, foreperson, or other employee whose duties include the supervision, direction, or control of agricultural employees, must be trained at least once for at least two hours each calendar year in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace;
(2) all new nonsupervisorial employees, including agricultural employees, must be trained at the time of hire; and
(3) all nonsupervisorial employees, including agricultural employees, must be trained at least once every two years in identifying, preventing, and reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.
The law details the required minimum content for this training, as well as related obligations for the provision of information to employees. Licensees will also be required to keep a record of all employees who have received the sexual harassment training for a period of three years.
Notably, California law will also now provide that the Labor Commissioner may not issue a license to, and may revoke, suspend or refuse to renew any license for, a person who, within the preceding three years, has been found by a court or an administrative agency to have committed sexual harassment of an employee, or who, within the preceding three years, employed any supervisor, crewleader, mayordomo, foreperson, or any other employee of the applicant whose duties include the supervision, direction, or control of any agricultural worker whom the applicant knew or should have known has been found by a court or an administrative agency, within the preceding three years of his or her employment with the applicant, to have committed sexual harassment of an employee.
Finally, licensing fees will also be increased to fund enforcement and license verification activities.
Given these significant changes to current practices, licensees and potential licensees should review their training and recordkeeping practices now so as to ensure they are ready to comply when the law takes effect.