California Harassment Prevention Training Update

November 22, 2019

Topics: Harassment Discrimination and Retaliation

Larger employers have historically been required to provide harassment prevention training to supervisors in California. In 2018, this requirement was expanded to include smaller businesses and non-supervisory employees, with an original deadline of January 2020. But, thanks to recent legislation, employers now have another year to ensure their California employees receive proper harassment-prevention training.

Now, by January 1, 2021, companies with five or more employees must provide at least two hours of training to California supervisory employees and at least one hour to California rank-and-file employees. The training must be given every two years thereafter. For new hires, the training must be provided within 6 months of hire.

There are more rigorous timeframes and deadlines for temporary and seasonal workers. Starting January 1, 2020, temporary, seasonal or short-term employees (hired to work less than six months) must be provided with training within 30 calendar days of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever is sooner. With regard to temporary employees, the temporary services agency must provide the training.

According to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the training can be presented through live classroom training, a live webinar, or interactive e-learning format (with instructions on how to contact a live trainer who can answer questions). The training must cover several aspects of sexual and gender-based harassment, such as: the legal framework, practical examples, strategies to prevent harassment, remedies and resources available to victims of sexual harassment, supervisory responsibility, “abusive conduct,” and the complaint process and corrective action. In addition, the training must have questions that test participants’ knowledge, skill-building activities to ensure participants retain the content, and hypothetical examples with points for discussion. Trainers must meet certain educational and experiential requirements.