California passes AB 2358 aiming at discrimination & harassment in Building & Construction Trade Apprenticeships

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2358, a bill that seeks to address potential discrimination and harassment in building and construction trade apprenticeship programs.  While AB 2358 contains broad anti-discrimination language, it was designed to encourage women in particular to pursue building and construction careers, beginning with apprenticeships. 

AB 2358 expressly prohibits discrimination in building and construction trade apprenticeship programs on the basis of enumerated categories including sex, gender, race, national origin, religious creed, and disability.  AB 2358 also requires these apprenticeship programs to affirmatively promote equal opportunity in several ways: 

  • Programs must include an equal opportunity pledge in their apprenticeship standards, publications and bulletin boards; incorporate equal opportunity policies into orientations and information sessions; and provide equal opportunity notices to contractors annually. 
  • Programs also must provide interactive anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training to all apprentices, instructors, and employees and implement procedures for handling and resolving complaints of harassment or discrimination. 
  • Programs must designate one or more individuals to monitor all apprenticeship activity for equal opportunity compliance and to maintain compliance records, in order to promote coordination and accountability.  

AB 2358 authorizes the California Apprenticeship Council within the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) Division of Apprentice Standards to issue rules and regulations to implement these provisions, broadening the DIR’s authority to oversee nondiscrimination efforts.  Finally, the law establishes that failure to comply with these equal opportunity requirements may be grounds for an audit by the DIR, and potentially the withdrawal of state approval of an apprenticeship program.

Women make up a small minority of building and construction trade apprentices today, but their numbers will likely grow as AB 2358 and more laws like it are enacted to promote equal opportunity and protect women and other groups from the potential for discrimination based on sex, gender, race, national origin, religious creed, and disability, at the workplace.

Please direct any questions about this new law to your labor law counsel. 

By Andrea Matsuoka | October 24, 2018

Legal Developments