State to Survey Employers on Anti-Harassment, Diversity Policies

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The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently announced that it will survey California employers by telephone to ask about their anti-harassment and diversity policies.

The goal of the survey is to develop a clearer picture of how California employers manage diversity and harassment issues, including anti-harassment and diversity policies.

Types of Questions

Employers will be selected randomly for the phone interviews. The survey includes questions about:

• Employers’ anti-discrimination, sexual harassment and general anti-harassment policies;

• Employer-sponsored training on harassment and diversity issues;

• Recruiting programs for women and minorities; and

• Harassment complaint procedures.

According to the DFEH, company names will not be recorded on the surveys and only aggregate survey data will be released.

“Knowing more about California employers’ harassment and diversity initiatives is key to the Department’s ongoing work to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish, in a statement. “We expect the results of the survey to provide important insights for policy makers and the public alike.”

Survey Background

The survey was discussed during a Fair Employment and Housing Council meeting last December and developed in consultation with a group of academics who study effective training. The survey will tackle different industries and sizes of employers, based on EEO-1 data.

According to the council, the identity of the respondent will be severed from the information provided—to keep it anonymous. The intent of the survey is not to punish employers for noncompliance, but instead to find out what type of training has and has not worked.

Task Force

The survey is a product of the DFEH Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, formed in May 2016 to study the problem of sexual harassment, the effects of 10 years of harassment prevention training in the state and best practices to prevent harassment.

The Task Force previously issued a Workplace Harassment Guide for California Employers that provides DFEH-recommended practices for preventing and addressing all forms of workplace harassment, including harassment based on sex.

Staff Contact: Gail Cecchettini Whaley

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Gail Cecchettini Whaley
About Gail Cecchettini Whaley
Gail Cecchettini Whaley, senior employment law counsel, joined the CalChamber in June 2011 with nearly 20 years of practice in employment law. Since joining the CalChamber staff, Whaley has been chief author of the popular HRWatchdog blog and HRCalifornia Extra e-newsletter. She is a contributor and editor for CalChamber’s various human resources compliance products, including the HRCalifornia website, and serves as a content expert. She earned a B.A. with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California.