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California expands employer sexual harassment training programs

At Duggan Law Corporation, we provide training services to Northern California employers so that they can comply with state law requirements. The focus is to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors every two years for employers with more than 50 employees or contractors. As we discussed earlier this year, a new 2018 requirement requires this supervisor training to include issues related to gender expression, gender identity and sexual harassment.

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 1343, a bill that will significantly expand employer sexual harassment training requirements in the state. Under the new law, all employers with five or more employees, including temporary and seasonal workers, must comply with new sexual harassment training requirements by January 1, 2020. However, if the employer provides compliant training after January 1, 2019, it does not have to conduct another training to meet the 2020 deadline.

New training requirements

The new law affects training for supervisors, nonsupervisory employees, and seasonal and temporary employees.

  • Supervisors: All supervisors must receive two hours of compliant sexual harassment training within the first six months of becoming supervisors and once every two years going forward.
  • Nonsupervisory employees: Employers must provide one hour of sexual harassment training to workers who are not supervisors every two years.
  • Seasonal and temporary employees and those hired to work less than six months: Sexual harassment training must be provided within 30 calendar days from starting or within 100 hours of work, whichever is earlier. (Temporary workers hired through an agency must be trained by the agency.)

Training must be "classroom or other effective interactive training and education," and can be conducted individually or in a group." Alternatively, the duration requirements can be met by a series of shorter trainings.

The content of the training must include:

  • Federal and state laws about prohibition, prevention and correction of sexual harassment at work;
  • Legal remedies available to those victimized by sexual harassment at work;
  • Practical examples for supervisors of how to prevent "harassment, discrimination, and retaliation";
  • Prevention of "abusive conduct"; and
  • Practical examples of harassment based on gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Public or private resources

Under the new law, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) must provide online training courses that comply with state law content requirements along with translations in certain non-English languages. If an employer uses different training, the trainers must have "knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation."

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