Harassment Prevention Training: Prevention of Abusive Conduct

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AB 2053 requires employers that are subject to the mandatory sexual harassment prevention training requirement for supervisors to include a component on the prevention of “abusive conduct” beginning January 1, 2015.

This new law does not mean that an employee can sue for abusive conduct in the workplace, unless, of course, the conduct becomes discrimination or harassment against a protected class; the law merely requires training on prevention of abusive conduct.

Abusive conduct is specifically defined under the new legislation as “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, as defined, 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.

The new law states that a single act does not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

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