In January of 2015, California’s anti-bullying law took effect. It mandates that employers with 50 or more workers include training about preventing “abusive conduct.” “Abusive conduct” means 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 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. A single act may constitute abusive conduct, if it is especially severe and egregious.
Unfortunately for victims of bullying, there is no law in California that makes workplace bullying or “abusive conduct” illegal.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin