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Monday
Mar132006

California Law Effects Oregon Employers

Do you have any employees in California? Do you have 50 or more employees total from all of your locations combined?

If so, you need to be aware that the state of California is attempting to subject you to a new law if you organization has even a single employee in California. The law requires that all employers with 50 or more employees anywhere in the U.S. and one or more employees in California provide at least two hours of very specific sexual harassment prevention training for all supervisors by January 1, 2006 and train again every two years.

Is this law enforceable? Can California force you to provide training to supervisors located outside of California? It will probably take court action to find out for sure. Since the action is likely to take place in California, how do you think the California court will decide? What do you think a California jury will do if you are sued for harassment in California and did not train your supervisors?

Seeking to base application of a law on the number of employees outside of the state's jurisdiction may be a first.

Employment laws that are based on the number of employees have different methods of counting employees. For example, the Federal Family Medical Leave Act applies to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. The Oregon Family Leave Act applies to employers that employ 25 or more employees in Oregon during each day of the week for 20 or more weeks in the calendar year or the preceding 12 months. This may be the first time, however, that a state seeks to impose jurisdiction over an employer based upon the number of employees hired in other states.

This may also be the first time a state has attempted to set standards for training supervisors located outside the state. Oh, by the way, independent contractors are also counted the same as employees, probably another first.

What should you do? If you hire any employees in California, you should do the following:

DO: Do review the California statute. You can download the law (AB1825.pdf) from the Perrin & Thayer website at www.ptlaw.com/client_downloads.

DO: Do review the proposed regulations (not yet adopted) to see how the California state agency charged with enforcement will likely interpret the statute. You can download the proposed regulations (AB1825 prp regs.pdf) from the Perrin & Thayer website at www.ptlaw.com/client_downloads.

DO: Do add California specific content to your training materials if you currently provide harassment training to your supervisors.

DO: Do take steps to comply. Let someone else be the test case. We can share with you what we have learned about the specific California training and record keeping requirements.

DO: Do contact a California employment attorney if you have questions about whether this law applies to you or what you need to do to comply.

DON'T: Don't be a test case. Provide training to all of your supervisors that complies with the California standards.

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