New Law Requires Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training for All Employees

Posted by: Gail Cecchettini Whaley, Esq. on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 8:00:00 am

The #MeToo movement has renewed attention on sexual harassment in the workplace. California, being at the forefront of workplace protections, passed several anti-harassment laws this year. Importantly, Governor Brown recently signed SB 1343 which requires employers with five or more employees to provide training to all employees (both supervisory and non-supervisory) by January 1, 2020.

 

 

 Current Law  New Law—SB 1343
 Employers with 50+ Employees Covered  Employers with 5+ Employees Covered
 Two Hours of Mandatory Training Only for Supervisors  Two hours of Mandatory Training for Supervisors and One    Hour of Mandatory Training for Non-Supervisors

 

This new law is a dramatic shift from the current requirements which have been in place for more than a decade. Current law requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training within six months of hire and every two years thereafter. Now, the threshold number of employees that triggers coverage under the law has been lowered to five, and non-supervisory employees are included in the training mandate.

Key Points

• Employers with at least five employees must provide: (1) Two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees; (2) One hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory employees.
• Part-time and temporary employees, plus independent contractors count toward the minimum employee count of five employees.
• Must be done by January 1, 2020.
• Training must occur within six months of the employee starting the position (and every two years thereafter).
• Sexual harassment prevention training may be conducted individually or as a group.
• Sexual harassment prevention training may be in conjunction with other training and may be given in shorter time segments, as long as the two-hour requirement for supervisory employees and the one-hour requirement for non-supervisory employees is met.
• The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) will develop and make available training courses for supervisors and non-supervisors. As before, employers may develop their own training platforms or use those of experienced training providers, such as the California Employers Association.

There is also a new requirement for temporary or seasonal employees. Beginning January 1, 2020, for seasonal and temporary employees, or any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, an employer shall provide training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. In the case of a temporary employee employed by a temporary services employer (as defined by the Labor Code), to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.

Next Steps

This law is going to require all employers—large and small—to look at their calendars and figure out when they can train their supervisors and employees in 2019 (to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline).

The myriad of new California anti-harassment laws make one thing abundantly clear-employers must take steps to prevent harassment in the workplace and failure to do so can lead to increased liability.

Employers should not simply “check the box” when it comes to training. Instead, training must meet the needs of your particular workplace, as well as the type of employee being trained. Anyone who is trained needs to understand what sexual harassment is, what the law requires, how to report it, and your company’s policy and reporting mechanisms. But supervisors need additional information on their prevention obligations, including handling complaints, investigations, and corrective actions. Interactive training with examples that can help flesh out those grey areas that employees and managers often struggle with is beneficial in meeting your prevention goals.

CEA Is Here to Help

CEA offers training for supervisors, non-supervisory employees, and board members. CEA training meets California’s requirements in terms of the content that is covered and the need for knowledgeable trainers.

Pick the method that best fits your needs! CEA delivers harassment prevention training in many ways: on-site at your location, via webinars, and through online training. CEA’s programs, as always, keep up-to-date with all new harassment prevention requirements—so you can make sure you are in compliance!

Comments

2 comments on "New Law Requires Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training for All Employees"

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Jessica - HR Director on October 5, 2018 at 10:21:03 am said:
The law is effective Jan. 1, 2019, so the initial training should take place between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2020.
Mairi McGinnis on October 5, 2018 at 10:16:14 am said:
When do we have to have the training completed and when would you recommend our staff take the training, before end of year or beginning of 2019?

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