Previously, the state of California required mandatory sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for supervisors working for employers with 50+ employees. Under this law, California-based supervisors had to be trained every two years and new supervisors had to be trained within 6 months of placement.
As of this year, things have changed. Read on for everything you need to know about California’s new training requirement and how to comply by 2021.
Original Training Deadline
California recently passed an emergency bill to extend the deadline for the first round of sexual harassment training by one year. Previously, employers with 5+ employees were required to provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees in California by January 1, 2020. The deadline is now January 1, 2021.
Revised: 2021 Training Requirements
By January 1, 2021, all employees working for employers with 5+ employees will need to be trained.
- Supervisors must receive two hours of training once every two years
- Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training once every two years.
- The applicable training within six months of hire for new employees or within six months of entering a supervisory position.
Employers who provide training that complies with the law in 2019 do not need to do so again until two years have passed from the date of training. For example, if you trained all employees on July 14, 2019 (good work!), you would have until July 14, 2021, to retrain those same employees.
However, if you hire new employees or promote any existing employees to supervisory positions, they need to receive the applicable training by January 1, 2021.
What Kind of Training Must Employers Provide?
Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training in a classroom setting, through interactive E-learning, or in a live webinar. Regardless of the training method you choose, the content must explain:
- The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Statutes and case-law prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment.
- Types of conduct that can be sexual harassment.
- That harassment may be based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
- Remedies available for victims of sexual harassment.
- Strategies to prevent sexual harassment.
- Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment.
- Practical examples of harassment.
- The limited confidentiality of the complaint process.
- Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including how they should report it and to whom.
- How employers must correct harassing behavior.
- What to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment.
- The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it.
- “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).
Finally, any training must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content. This should also include hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.
Top Tip: E-learning training must also provide instructions for how to contact a trainer who can answer any questions within two business days.
Who Can Provide the Training?
There are three types of qualified trainers:
- Attorneys who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in one or more of the following areas:
- Designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention;
- Responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints;
- Investigating sexual harassment complaints; or
- Advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention.
- Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the FEHA or Title VII.
Neither DFEH nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.
What About Seasonal and Temporary Employees?
The training timeline was not changed for seasonal and temporary employees. Beginning January 1, 2020, employers must provide training for seasonal and temporary employees, as well as any employee who is hired to work for less than six months. Further, employers must conduct this training within 30 calendar days of hire or within their first 100 hours worked. (Whichever comes first.)
Why is there a different timeline for seasonal and temporary employees? California wants everyone who holds a job in 2020 to be trained by Jan 1, 2021. To achieve that, the state needs to maintain the previous training timeline for seasonal and temporary employees. Otherwise, someone who works only seasonally may not receive training by the deadline.
What Do You Think?
Have you already met the new harassment prevention training requirements? If not, how are you planning to comply? As a business with 5+ employees, you can either wait to see if the state releases its own free training program later this year or be proactive and get compliant now with classroom, E-learning, or webinar training.
However, working with our 1,500 clients, we’ve found that most businesses actually need a mix of solutions to fit their business. No matter what you choose, we can help. Let’s talk to identify the best solution for your business today!