DFEH Issues Sample Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The DFEH recently released its Sample Equal Opportunity Policy. The Sample Policy is available in PDF and Word form on the DFEH’s employment resources page at https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/resources/posters-and-brochures-and-fact-sheets/poster-and-brochure-tab-list/?target=employment.

Pursuant to Section 11023 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations, California employers have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct. Section 11023 further requires California employers to promulgate a written policy preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that satisfies specific requirements, such as listing all protected categories covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), outlining a complaint procedure, and ensuring proper dissemination of the policy, just to name a few.  The DFEH’s Sample Policy provides helpful guidance for employers looking to review or update their existing policies against discrimination, retaliation, or harassment.

Although the DFEH Sample Policy is quite detailed and thorough, the Sample Policy does not carry the weight of regulatory authority regarding discrimination, harassment, or retaliation policies.  However, the Sample Policy indicates what the DFEH will be looking for when it conducts audits and investigations of employers’ policies.  At over eight pages of policy language, the Sample Policy is not necessarily directly convertible to a practical policy without some fine tuning.  Employers seeking to update their policies against discrimination must ensure their modifications comply with Section 11023 at a minimum, and may look to the Sample Policy to serve as the model language to augment the regulations.  Employers who plan on updating their policies against discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, may contact their usual counsel at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo or the authors of this article to ensure their policy complies with California law.

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