New CA Requirements for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The state of California currently requires mandatory sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for supervisors working for employers with 50 or more employees. California-based supervisors must be trained every two years. New supervisors must be trained within six months of assuming the position.

2020 Training Requirements
By January 1, 2020, all employees working for employers with five or more employees will need to be trained. Supervisors must receive two hours of training once every two years, while non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training once every two years.

What Kind of Training Must Employers Provide?
Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training in a classroom setting, through interactive E-learning, or through a live webinar. E-learning training must provide instructions on how to contact a trainer who can answer questions within two business days.

Any training must explain:

  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • The statutes and case-law on prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
  • The types of conduct that can be sexual harassment;
  • That harassment may be based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
  • The remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment;
  • Practical examples of harassment;
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
  • Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it;
  • How employers must correct harassing behavior;
  • What to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
  • The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
  • “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).

Finally, any training must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.

Who Can Provide The Training?
There are three types of qualified trainers:

  1. Attorneys who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  2. Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in one or more of the following areas: designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints; investigating sexual harassment complaints; or advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; or
  3. Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the FEHA or Title VII.

Neither DFEH nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.

What About Seasonal and Temporary Employees?
Beginning January 1, 2020, employers must provide training for seasonal and temporary employees, as well as any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days of hire or within their 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temporary services employers are responsible for training their employees.

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