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.


 Previous Law (2018)  New Law—SB 1343 (2019)
 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!


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

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Private comment posted on April 17, 2019 at 12:19:25 am
Private comment posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:26:41 am
Private comment posted on March 14, 2019 at 3:50:09 pm
Private comment posted on February 25, 2019 at 8:22:42 am
Private comment posted on February 19, 2019 at 12:11:15 pm
Private comment posted on February 8, 2019 at 12:05:45 pm
HR Advisor on February 8, 2019 at 8:19:15 am said:
A supervisor will generally not be able to provide staff training as it can only be done by a "qualified trainer" that meets the state regulatory requirements-.(generally an attorney or experienced HR professional). CEA will have a fact sheet on training requirements on the website soon.
kari countryman on February 7, 2019 at 10:58:47 am said:
If I send the owner of the practice and a supervisor to the two hour training , can they then come back to the office and train the rest of the staff to fulfill the required one hour mandatory training ?
Jessica - HR Director on February 6, 2019 at 11:58:36 am said:
Please contact 1.800.399.5331 or email to get more information and costs for training.
Gema Urena on February 6, 2019 at 11:51:54 am said:
Where or how can my company get this training?

Please contact 1.800.399.5331 or email!
Jessica - HR Director on January 22, 2019 at 2:28:30 pm said:
The training options vary depending on online, webinar, and on-site trainings and whether you are a CEA member. Please call 800.399.5331 or email so we can assist you in finding the training that works best for your company.
Private comment posted on January 22, 2019 at 2:21:37 pm
HR Advisor on January 21, 2019 at 11:32:47 am said:
We offer on-site training in English and Spanish.
Jeff on January 18, 2019 at 8:46:26 am said:
Are your courses offered in Spanish as well?
Private comment posted on January 10, 2019 at 1:02:47 pm
Private comment posted on December 11, 2018 at 8:03:38 am
Jessica - HR Director on November 28, 2018 at 1:58:19 pm said:
The DFEH has some FAQs for the new training requirements (for employers with 5 or more employees):
Question: By what date must employees be trained?
Answer: Both managerial and non-managerial employees must receive training by January 1, 2020. After January 1, 2020, employees must be retrained once every two years. That means that all
employees statewide must be retrained by January 1, 2022.
Question: What if my employees were trained between January 1 and December 31, 2018?
Answer: The law requires that employees be trained during calendar year 2019. Employees who were trained in 2018 or before will need to be retrained.
Helena on November 26, 2018 at 4:51:58 pm said:
For managers who completed their harassment training in 2018, do they have to do it again in 2019? or can they do it upon their 2 year expire date in 2020?
Jessica - HR Director on November 12, 2018 at 11:59:37 am said:
Training can be completed online, via webinar, or on site.
Jim Sando on November 12, 2018 at 11:54:42 am said:
Can training be completed on line?
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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