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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California credit unions must meet new state-mandated sexual harassment prevention training requirements for all employees in supervisory roles by January 1, 2006. Assembly Bill 1825, passed back in September of 2004, defines very specific requirements for employers with 50 or more employees. Although not specified by the statute, courts have held that Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)’s other minimum employee requirements count only employees working in California. Employers must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment education to all supervisory employees who are employed as of July 1, 2005. After January 1, 2006, the requirement for existing employees is reduced to training every two years, although new supervisory employees must receive the training within six months of their hire date or effective promotion. Required curriculum, and even learning environment, is well defined per AB 1825. Training must be conducted in a classroom or other method of effective interactive training and include the following topics: * Federal and state statutory provisions concerning the laws against and the prevention of sexual harassment. * How to correct instances of sexual harassment in the workplace and the remedies available to victims. * Practical examples to assist supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The new law also mandates that trainers possess knowledge and expertise regarding the subject, although specific qualifications are not defined by legislation. The California Credit Union League presented a webinar training session on the topic on Wednesday, August 24. League training spokesperson Jan Johnson said her organization is confident that the two-and-a-half hour webinar meets state requirements. “Our understanding is that the training must be interactive. That doesn’t mean it has to be in person, it just has to be interactive, and this will be. It will be presented live in our studio, taking and asking questions and getting responses from participants,” Johnson said. Attorney Robert Wenzel, partner in the well-known California personnel law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud, Romo, is the league’s trainer. Johnson said Wenzel has presented other personnel law sessions for the league in the past, and is very knowledgeable on the subject. Johnson said she has received requests from member credit unions to present another training session before year-end, which the league currently coordinating with Wenzel. -

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