In 2018, a new California law went into effect that requires employers with five or more employees to provide training on sexual harassment prevention to all employees: one hour of training for rank-and-file employees and two hours of training to their supervisors. (Previously, California’s sexual harassment training law covered only employers with 50 or more employees.) This training must be provided once every two years.
The initial deadline for providing this training was January 1, 2020, but now California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed an extension giving employers until January 1, 2021, to comply with most provisions of this law.
Below we’ve provided details on what employers need to do during the next year to satisfy the requirements of this important labor law.
When California Employers Need to Be in Compliance With This New Labor Law
Employers must pay their employees—including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees—to attend the required training during working hours. All new employees must be trained within six months of their date of hire; if an employee is promoted to a supervisory position, the employee must be trained within six months of the date of the promotion.
There is a special exception that employers should be aware of: temporary and seasonal employees must be trained within 30 days of starting work or before they have completed 100 hours of work, whichever occurs first, as of January 1, 2020.
An employee or supervisor who has been trained during 2019 needs to be retrained, but not before 2021.
What the California Sexual Harassment Training Law Requires
The new labor law has specific requirements for how employers must conduct sexual harassment training. First, the training must include, at a minimum, the following:
- The illegality of sexual harassment
- Definitions of sexual harassment under federal and state law
- Examples of sexual harassment
- The company’s internal complaint process for employees
- The complaint process and legal remedies are available to employees through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
- Directions on how to contact the DFEH
- The prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment
- The address for the sexual harassment information on the DFEH website
Employers can present the training live or online, and the training must be conducted by a lawyer or another qualified person who is knowledgeable about sexual harassment. The training must be interactive, which means that it must include hypothetical situations, discussion questions, and quizzes to reinforce learning. Online training should offer employees the opportunity to ask questions. Employers must retain a copy of all questions and the answers they provide to those questions for at least two years.
In addition, employers must document this training and preserve the records of this training for at least two years. The records should include the following details:
- The names of the employees who attended the training
- An employee sign-in sheet
- The date of the training
- A description of the training
- The name of the trainer
- A copy of any training materials (whether written or recorded)
- A copy of any certificate issued documenting the employee’s completion of the training
For further information on sexual harassment training and those qualified to conduct the training, visit the Sexual Harassment FAQs page on the DFEH website.
Additional Requirements for California Employers
To satisfy the requirements of the law, the DFEH states that employers may either post the Sexual Harassment poster or give employees the Sexual Harassment brochure regarding employees’ legal rights. For more information on compliance with these and other labor law poster requirements, check out the California labor laws section of our website or call us at (800) 322-3636 for more details.