California Compliance Deadline For Harassment Prevention Training Still Set For January 1, 2021

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In 2018, California law extended anti-harassment training requirements to employers with 5 employees or more and mandated that non-supervisors also receive such training, in addition to supervisors. The original deadline for completion of that training was January 1, 2020. Current California law requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide one (1) hour of sexual harassment prevention training to nonsupervisory employees and two (2) hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors and managers. This interactive training must occur every two years and must include prevention of abusive conduct as a component, among several other topics required to be covered.

In 2019, California Governor Newsom signed legislation extending the deadline under California Government Code section 12950.1 for initial compliance to January 1, 2021. The amendment to the California Government Code also clarified that an employer that provided sexual harassment training in 2019 is compliant with the training requirements and is not required to provide training again for two years.

Many employers delayed training in early 2020, due to COVID-19 stay at home orders and hoped by summer they could reschedule. As in-person training continues to be difficult under state and county guidance, many employers thought the Governor might further extend the deadline.

However, much like the state minimum wage increase set for January 1, 2020, neither the California legislature nor the Governor have made any moves to extend the deadline for compliance despite the ongoing pandemic. The January 1, 2021 compliance deadline to provide sexual harassment training remains.

While providing employees in-person training may not be feasible, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) allows for training to occur live in a classroom, online, or in “any other effective, interactive format.” Training may be completed by employees individually or as part of a group presentation and may be completed in segments as long as the total hourly requirement is met.

Regardless of how training is completed, employers should remember to retain records of all employees’ training for a minimum of two years.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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