Complying with California’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

CDF Labor Law LLP
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In 2018, the California Legislature passed a slew of bills to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, including Senate Bill No. 1343.  This bill expanded employee protections to require employers who employ 5 or more employees, including temporary or seasonal employees, to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees and at least 1 hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all nonsupervisory employees.  These regulations previously only applied to employers with 50 or more employees.  The initial deadline for providing new training to those employees not previously covered under prior state law was January 1, 2020.  However, SB 778, which was passed on August 30, 2019, extended the deadline to January 1, 2021.  

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) developed 1-hour and 2-hour online training courses for this purpose available in several languages.

Employers, with 5 or more employees, must provide:  

  • At least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees;
  • At least one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees;
  • Sexual harassment prevention training and education once every two years;
  • New nonsupervisory employees with training within six months of hire; and
  • New supervisory employees with training within six months of the assumption of a supervisory position.

The training must include:

  • Information and practical guidance regarding the prohibition against sexual harassment under federal and state statutes;
  • The prevention and correction of sexual harassment;
  • The remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment; and
  • Practical examples to instruct supervisors about prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. 

The training may be completed by employees individually or as part of a group presentation and may be completed in shorter segments, as long as the total hourly requirement is met.  If an employer provided this training in 2019, it is not required to provide it again until 2 years after the 2019 training.  

In addition, Temporary Agencies are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first, relieving employers of such temporary workers of a training obligation.  Likewise, an employer need not train independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns on sexual harassment prevention even though such person counts toward determining whether an employer meets the 5-employee threshold.

Employers should keep detailed attendance records from training sessions in case the company ever needs to prove compliance. 

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