Workplace Harassment Prevention Training Mandatory for Elected Officials

After an observed increase in the number of high-profile harassment cases against elected local government officials in California over the past few years, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) took the position that elected officials should be provided with workplace harassment training required for all supervisors throughout the State by AB 1825.  Despite the FEHC’s position, existing law did not specify that harassment training was required for elected officials or members of local legislative bodies. California Assembly Bill 1661 was designed to eliminate this confusion, in part due to the costs of litigating and settling harassment claims, which according to the Bill’s sponsors, “results in a significant loss of revenue and diverts funds from essential constituent services.”  In passing AB 1661, the Legislature declared that harassment training for local elected officials is “a matter of statewide concern, not merely a municipal affair.”  Governor Brown signed AB 1661 into law on September 29, 2016.  The California Legislature’s website has more information on this new law.