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Counselor's Corner: Mandatory Harassment Prevention Training in 2019

Published Monday, October 29, 2018
by Gail Cecchettini Whaley, Esq.

California, being at the forefront of workplace protections, passed several anti-harassment laws this year. Importantly, Governor Brown signed SB 1343 which requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide training to all employees (both supervisory and non-supervisory) by January 1, 2020.

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 6 months of hire and every 2 years thereafter. Now, the threshold number of employees that triggers coverage under the law has been lowered to 5, and non-supervisory employees are included in the training mandate.

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

Key Points

• Employers with at least 5 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 5 employees.
• Training must be completed by January 1, 2020.
• Training must occur within 6 months of the employee starting the position (and every 2 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 California Employers Association.

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).

Employers should not simply “check-the-box” when it comes to training. 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 is sexual harassment, what the law requires, how to report, and your company’s policy and reporting mechanisms.

Supervisors need additional information on their prevention obligations, including handling complaints, investigations, and corrective action. 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 both the content that is covered and the need for knowledgeable trainers.

We deliver harassment prevention training in many ways: on-site, via webinars, and through online training. Call today to schedule your training, our 2019 calendar is filling up fast!

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