SECTION 1. Section 3A of Chapter 151B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (e), and replacing it with the following:-
(e) Employers and labor organizations are encouraged to conduct an education and training program for new non-supervisory employees and members, within one year of commencement of employment or membership, which includes at a minimum the information, set forth in this section.
SECTION 2. Chapter 151B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 3A the following section:-
Section 3B. Training and education for supervisory and managerial employees
By January 1, 2016, employers are encouraged to provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding illegal workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation to all supervisory and managerial employees who are employed as of July 1, 2015, and to all new supervisory and managerial employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory or managerial position. After January 1, 2017, employers are encouraged to provide such training and education to each supervisory or managerial employee once every two years.
(a) The training and education described in this section should include at a minimum (i) information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, (ii) information about the remedies available to victims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and (iii) practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors and managerial employees in the prevention of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The training and education shall be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
(b) A claim that the training and education described by this section did not reach a particular individual or individuals shall not in and of itself result in the liability of any employer to any present or former employee or applicant in an action alleging illegal workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Conversely, an employer’s compliance with this section does not insulate the employer from liability for discrimination, harassment or retaliation against any current or former employee or applicant.
(c) An employer’s compliance with this section with respect to a particular supervisor or managerial employee shall be an affirmative defense to any action alleging illegal discrimination, harassment or retaliation brought against an employer based on that supervisor’s or managerial employee’s actions or failure to act. Any employer that has provided the training and education described by this section to a supervisory or managerial employee after January 1, 2015 is not required to provide additional training and education by the January 1, 2016 deadline in order to assert this affirmative defense.
(d) The training and education described in this section is intended to establish a minimum threshold and should not discourage any employer from providing for longer, more frequent, or more elaborate training and education regarding unlawful workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation in order to meet its obligations to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
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