By Stacey Sommerhauser, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP
If you employ minor workers (anyone under the age of 18), pay close attention. You have new requirements under the California Penal Code!
For many years, certain professions (e.g., teachers, police officers, social workers, physicians, etc.) have had the role of a mandated reporter; however, with the passage of AB 1963 (effective January 1, 2021), Human Resources professionals and adults who provide direct supervision of minor workers were added to the list.
A mandated reporter is an individual who is required to report, based on knowledge or reasonable suspicion, if a minor worker is the victim of child abuse or neglect. The types or reportable instances could include physical abuse, sexual abuse/assault, emotional abuse and neglect. The mandated reporter must only have reasonable suspicion that a minor worker has been mistreated; no evidence or proof is required prior to making a report. The case will be further investigated by law enforcement and/or child welfare services.
Covered employers (those with five or more employees that employ minors) must provide training to employees who have mandated reporting duties under the law. It must include training in child abuse and neglect identification, and training in child abuse and neglect reporting. The training requirement may be met by completing the general online training for mandated reporters offered by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services. A link to the training can be found here.
Employers are required to designate a mandated reporter and provide notice of the mandated reporter requirement to supervisors who are considered mandated reporters, if it employs five or more employees and employs minors under the age of 18. A sample notice can be found on the Silvers HR Library.
There are costly concerns for failure to report. If an individual designated to be a mandated reporter fails to report concerns of child abuse or neglect, it is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable in California by six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.
If you have further questions contact your HR Consultant.