Time to complete the expanded California sexual harassment training requirement

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Employers are required to provide sexual harassment training under the FEHA as part of their obligation to ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment. As of January 1, 2019, the training requirement applies to all employers with five or more employees and requires such employers to train and educate nonsupervisory and supervisory employees. Employers must provide the training and education at least every two years.

What training is required by January 1, 2020?

By January 1, 2020, an employer with five or more employees must provide classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees in California.

Amount of Training

The training must be at least two hours for supervisory employees and at least one hour for nonsupervisory employees.

When must it be provided?

The training must be provided within six months of the employee’s assumption of a position. Thereafter, the employee must be trained at least once every two years.

How must it be provided?

The training may be provided in conjunction with other training provided to the employee. It can be completed by employees individually or as part of a group presentation, and may be completed in segments, as long as the applicable hourly total requirement is met. An employer who has provided the training and education to an employee after January 1, 2019 is not required to provide training and education by the January 1, 2020 deadline.

What training is required after January 1, 2020?

After January 1, 2020, employers with five or more employees must provide sexual harassment training and education to each employee in California within six months of their assumption of a position and once every two years.

What is Required in the Training?

The training must include:

  • Information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions that prohibit sexual harassment in employment;
  • Prevention and correction of sexual harassment;
  • Remedies available to victims of harassment;
  • Practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation;
  • Prevention of “abusive conduct” and harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation;
  • The training must be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
  • Supervisor Training must be presented by trainers who, through training and experience, have the ability to train supervisors about the following:
  1. What are unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation under both California and federal law;
  2. What steps to take when harassing behavior occurs at the workplace;
  3. How to report harassment complaints;
  4. How to respond to a harassment complaint;
  5. The employer’s obligation to conduct a workplace investigation of a harassment complaint;
  6. What constitutes retaliation and how to prevent it;
  7. Essential components of an anti-harassment policy; and
  8. The effect of harassment on harassed employees, co-workers, harassers, and employers.

Who is a supervisor?

The FEHA’s definition of supervisor in Government Code Section 12926(s), used to determine the scope of the training definition, provides: “any individual having the authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees.”

It also includes persons with the responsibility to direct other employees, adjust their grievances, or effectively recommend that action if “the exercise of that authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.”

Note: A strict liability standard applies where harassment is committed by a supervisor.

Seasonal and temporary employees must be trained beginning January 1, 2020

Beginning January 1, 2020, employers with five or more employees must provide training to seasonal or temporary employees, or any employee hired to work for less than six months.

The training must be provided within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

Where a temporary employee is employed by a temporary services employer to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.

Scali Rasmussen’s Employment Group lawyers can assist your business in meeting the training requirements through on-site training options. Please contact our offices for more information.