Overview

On June 25, 2018, the California Legislature adopted its Policy on Appropriate Workplace Conduct: Creating a Culture of Respect, Civility, and Diversity, which takes effect on February 1, 2019.  The policy protects employees (including unpaid interns, fellows, and volunteers) of, and applicants for, employment with, the Senate and Assembly from discrimination, harassment, whistleblower retaliation, other retaliation, and other inappropriate conduct on the basis of protected class by supervisors, managers, coworkers, and third parties with whom the employee comes into contact for work.

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Protected Status

"Protected Status" refers to a characteristic of an individual that is protected by law and includes:

  • AGE (40 and over)
  • ANCESTRY
  • COLOR
  • DENIAL OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL CARE LEAVE
  • GENDER
  • GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION
  • GENETIC INFORMATION
  • MARITAL STATUS
  • MEDICAL CONDITION (including cancer and genetic characteristics)
  • MENTAL DISABILITY
  • MILITARY AND VETERAN STATUS
  • NATIONAL ORIGIN
    (including, but not limited to, language use restrictions)
  • PHYSICAL DISABILITY
  • RACE
  • RELIGIOUS CREED
    (including but not limited to, religious dress and grooming practices)
  • SEX
    (including, but not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding)
  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION
  • WHISTLEBLOWER
  • ANY OTHER CHARACTERISTICS PROTECTED BY STATE OR FEDERAL LAW

Examples of Inappropriate Conduct

Conduct which violates this Policy may take many forms and includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, statements, gestures, pictures, or cartoons that relate to a protected class, such as those that have a racial, sexual, disability-related, religious, age, or national origin connotation, or derogatory comments about religious differences and practices.  The conduct need not be unwelcome to the party against whom it is directed; if the conduct reasonably would be considered inappropriate for the workplace, it may violate this Policy.  Specific examples of conduct which may be found to violate this Policy are:

  1. Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  2. Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.
  3. Verbal sexual advances or propositions; or pressuring or repeatedly asking an employee for dates.
  4. Visual conduct:  leering, sexual gestures, or a display of offensive images, objects, pictures, cartoons, calendars or posters that have a derogatory connotation to any protected class.
  5. Verbal conduct:  degrading or derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes that have a derogatory connotation to any protected class; frequently questioning someone about his or her personal life or speculating about his or her sex life.
  6. Written conduct:  suggestive or obscene letters, notes, electronic mail messages, or invitations, or similar written conduct that has a derogatory connotation to any protected class.
  7. Physical conduct:  unwelcome touching, assault, or impeding or blocking normal movement.
  8. Other unwelcome conduct based upon any protected class which is unbecoming of Members and staff and that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.