The Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) honored its founding Executive Director, Stephen Angelides, at a reception in Oakland, California on August 23. Steve co-founded AWI alongside founding AWI President Amy Oppenheimer and current AWI President Sue Ann Van Dermyden, and is retiring from AWI after eight years of service. At the reception, Amy, Sue Ann, and current Executive Director Laurie Krueger had the privilege of thanking Steve for his service. Amy explained to attendees that Steve shepherded AWI from a small gathering on her back deck to an international professional association with an annual budget of $1 million and 850 members. “AWI has a bright future,” said Angelides, “I hope to see it grow to thousands of members in my lifetime.”
On August 14th and 18th, Amy Oppenheimer gave the incoming 1L students of Berkeley Law their orientation to Title IX. Amy presented to 220 LLM students from all over the world, and 280 incoming JD students on sexual harassment and sexual violence. The presentation covered the history of Title IX, definitions and concepts, and resources available to Berkeley Law students. Alezah Trigueros also helped Amy illustrate concepts through some role-playing during the presentation.
We were pleased to see the University of California Berkeley and Berkeley Law taking this issue seriously, and to be a small part of the new Dean’s beginnings at the law school. It is exciting to have Dean Chemerinsky in Berkeley, where our firm is located, and we look forward to partnering with Berkeley Law in the future.
Today the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released a Workplace Harassment Guide. The new guide, available here, provides recommended practices for preventing and addressing workplace harassment. The guide was developed by DFEH’s California Sexual Harassment Task Force, of which Amy Oppenheimer is a member. It provides insight into employer responsibilities addressed in the new Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) regulations enacted in 2016.
The guide will be instrumental in providing employers with practical advice as to how to prevent and investigate workplace harassment and is one of the few such guides available to employers that has the imprimatur of a government agency. It will help employers comply with their obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent and correct workplace harassment.
As workplace investigators, our office is pleased to have such an important resource and proud that Amy contributed to this groundbreaking guide.
“Having the opportunity to contribute to the DFEH Task Force on Sexual Harassment in the workplace has been a capstone of my career. It has given me an opportunity to put my thirty years of work in this area into something concrete that will help both employers and employees,” said Amy, who also noted that the guide is consistent with the Association of Workplace Investigators’ Guiding Principles as well as the practices Amy teaches when she trains workplace investigators.
In conjunction with the development of the guidance, the DFEH has updated publication DFEH-185 and the corresponding poster. The release of this guide and the updated brochure and poster are significant for all California employers, as preventing and correcting harassment in the workplace ensures a healthy and productive workforce and is required under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Contact us for more on the workplace investigations and trainings available from Amy and the other members of our team.
For employees dealing with workplace bullying, click here for some good advice.