SACRAMENTO – On a bipartisan 38-0 vote, the California Senate today approved a plan to address the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment.
Senate Bill 1343 next faces review by the Assembly. An initial hearing date has not yet been set.
Authored by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by state Controller Betty T. Yee, SB 1343 would provide training to more California workers on preventing sexual harassment, as well as how to recognize harassment and who to contact if victimized.
“In order for this culture shift around sexual harassment prevention to be successful, workers need to feel confident in their workplace policies and procedures,” said Mitchell, author of SB 1343 and vice chair of the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.
“Expanding required training means expanding awareness across all economic sectors, not just in Hollywood or in the State Capitol,” said Yee, the highest-ranking female elected official in state government. “If we want to shift the culture when it comes to sexual harassment, we need to start by ensuring all workers know their rights and know their resources.”
Current law requires all employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training only to supervisors. SB 1343 would extend this requirement to employers with five or more employees, and ensure similar training in multiple languages for all workers so they know what sexual harassment is and what their rights are under the law.
Employers could comply with SB 1343 by directing employees to view California Department of Fair Employment and Housing online training, which the bill requires DFEH to produce in multiple languages, to raise employee awareness on harassment and discrimination in diverse workforce sectors.
Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years, she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles.
Follow Mitchell on Twitter at @HollyJMitchell. Find out more about her at www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell.
Elected in 2014, Controller Yee is the tenth woman elected to a statewide office in California’s history. As the chief fiscal officer of California, Controller Yee is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. Follow the Controller on Twitter at @CAController and on Facebook at California State Controller’s Office.