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CA Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Deadline Extended

In September 2018, former California governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1343 into law, requiring California employers with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020. SB 778 has amended the Government Code so that employers now have until January 1, 2021 to comply with the sexual harassment training requirements.

Employers should note that the amended law does not provide an extension of the training deadline to all types of employees. Seasonal, temporary, or other employees who are hired to work for less than six months must receive training within 30 calendar days after the hire date, or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first, beginning January 1, 2020.

Here is a summary of the training requirements for California employers:

Covered Employers

Employers with five or more employees must provide “classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment.” For a more in-depth look at what training should entail, click here.

Timing

The deadline to comply with the new training obligations is January 1, 2021. Employers with 50 or more employees were already required to train supervisors every two years. The law also states that an employer that has “provided this training and education to an employee in 2019 is not required to provide refresher training and education again until two years thereafter.”

Supervisory/Nonsupervisory Employees

For supervisory employees, employers must provide:

  • At least two hours of training to all supervisory employees in California, and
  • New supervisory employees must be trained within 6 months of the assumption of a supervisory position.

For nonsupervisory employees, employers must provide:

  • At least one hour of training to all nonsupervisory employees in California, and
  • New nonsupervisory employees must be trained within 6 months of hire.

Training

The parameters of a compliant training program are as follows:

  • Employers may conduct harassment training “in conjunction with other training.”
  • Employees may complete their training “individually or as part of a group presentation.”
  • Employees may complete their training programs “in shorter segments, as long as the applicable hourly total requirement is met.”
  • The training program must “include information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning” sexual harassment.
    • The training should also include prevention of “abusive conduct” (commonly described as “workplace bullying.”)
  • A compliant training program must “include practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.”
    • Examples should also include “harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”
  • The instructors or trainers must have “knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.”
  • The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) will “provide a method for employees who have completed the training to save electronically and print a certificate of completion.”