If you have not gotten started on your efforts to provide anti-harassment training to your California employees, you need to get working on it now.
A new law passed last year puts the onus on most employers in the state to provide anti-sexual harassment training to their staff every two years.
Starting this year, employers with five or more workers must provide:
- At least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees, and
- At least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory staff.
To be compliant by Jan. 1, 2020, as per the law, this training need to take place in 2019. They must then be provided every two years thereafter.
This new law builds on legislation that has been in place since 2005 requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of training to managers and supervisors every two years.
Timing of training
- All employees – Under the new law, ushered in by SB 1343, most California employees must undergo anti-harassment training this year and every two years thereafter.
- Supervisory employees – Supervisors and managers who are already covered by the aforementioned training requirements must continue to receive at least two hours of anti-harassment training within six months of becoming a supervisor, and at least every two years thereafter.
- New employees – New employees must receive at least one hour of anti-harassment training within six months of being hired, and at least every two years thereafter.
- Seasonal and temporary workers – This includes any employee that is hired to work for less than six months. These workers are required to receive training within 30 calendar days after the date they were hired, or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temp workers provided by an outside employment agency must receive anti-harassment training by the temp agency.
Guidelines for what training should cover for employees have yet to be released.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is required to make available to employers on its website interactive training courses that satisfy the two-hour supervisory and one-hour non-supervisory employee training requirements. However, those materials are not scheduled to be available until “late 2019,” according to the department’s website.
Meanwhile, the agency has on its website some materials to help employers, including a sample training kit in a Powerpoint format, which you can find here: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/12/SexualHarassmentandAbusiveConductPreventionTrainingToolkit.pdf
Under the regulations for supervisory training, the training must be conducted by either:
- An attorney whose practice includes employment law, or
- A human resource professional or harassment prevention consultant with a minimum of two or more years of practical experience in sexual harassment prevention training, or
- A professor or instructor in a law school, college or university, and who teaches about employment law.
What training must cover
The training requirements for one hour of training have yet to be released. But you should use as a guide the following, which are in the California Code of Regulations:
- Definition of unlawful sexual harassment under the law.
- The types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
- Remedies available for sexual harassment victims in civil actions; potential employer/individual exposure/liability.
- Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Supervisors’ obligation to report sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation of which they become aware.
- Practical examples that illustrate sexual harassment and discrimination.
- Confidentiality of the complaint process.
- How to report harassment to management.
- The employer’s obligation to conduct an effective workplace investigation of a harassment complaint, and to take remedial action.
- Training on what to do if the supervisor is accused of harassment.
- The essential elements of an anti-harassment policy, and how to utilize it if a harassment complaint is filed.