New Year is often a time for change. One change you need to be aware of as an employer is a bill California’s governor signed into legislation to take effect from January 2022.
The Silenced No More Act, or AB331 as it is officially known, means you need to take more care than ever with the agreements you ask employees to sign. The reason for the act is to prevent companies from hushing up allegations about harassment and discrimination. Why is this important? Because for the individuals concerned and society as a whole, it is harmful to cover up such things.
As an employer who has tried their best to treat workers fairly, it can be devastating when an employee says they have suffered harassment or discrimination while at your company. You may also face negative publicity, especially if one person speaking up encourages others to do the same, and you discover more discrimination or harassment was happening than you realized.
It is better to have strong anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies in place
While using non-disclosure agreements or similar documents to swear someone to silence might have helped you keep the lid on things, it was unlikely to ever be good for business in the long term.
Employees do better when they feel safe and feel that you as an employer will protect them from harassment or discrimination. If you are unsure whether your current company policies are up to date on these issues, it is best to seek legal help to review them.
The stronger your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and practices, the better protection you as an employer will have if an employee alleges you knew or should have known what was happening under your nose.