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Employers Have Less Than Six Months Left to Complete New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training

July 11, 2019

If you have not yet made arrangements to comply with the new California sexual harassment training requirements, now is the time to put those plans in place. Under a new law that took effect late last year, California employers with five or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment training to all employees prior to January 1, 2020. Newly-amended Government Code 12950.1(a) requires that employers with five or more employees provide at least one hour of training to all nonsupervisory employees, and two hours of training to all supervisory employees, before year end.

Importantly, even if you provided training last year to your supervisory employees—and thus would normally not be required to re-train until December 31, 2020—the new law states that all employees must be trained in 2019 to satisfy the requirements. 

Prior California law on sexual harassment training only applied to employers with 50 or more employees, and did not require training for non-supervisory employees. Government Code 12950.1(a) now applies that requirement to employers with five or more employees, including seasonal and temporary employees.

Newly hired employees must be trained within six months, and every two years thereafter. Employers must train seasonal and temporary employees, including those hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days of hire or 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. A temp agency which employs temporary employees for client work must train such employees, rather than the client.

The training can be conducted live or online, and can be combined with other trainings. Many employers find that in-person training is more impactful and effective, particularly because it can be specifically tailored to the employer’s own workforce. Often, employers adopt a combination of alternating live and online training schedules. Either way, sexual harassment training must be interactive, must be conducted by an attorney or other qualified trainer, and should discuss sexual harassment prevention and correction, remedies available to victims, and existing required topics on abusive conduct, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

The DFEH has created some basic training slides (available here https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/12/SexualHarassmentandAbusiveConductPreventionTrainingToolkit.pdf) and anticipates providing online training courses by late 2019. As of today, however, the training courses have not been made available.

Should you need advice regarding these new sexual harassment training requirements, or assistance with your training, please contact a member of Farella Braun + Martel’s employment practice group.

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