• Pamela Tahim Thakur

Sexual Harassment Training in the Workplace

Has your staff been trained on sexual harassment? If not, your business may soon run afoul of California’s upcoming new sexual harassment training law

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a risk that California employers simply cannot afford. Driven by high-profile sexual harassment and assault cases at work, California law makers have taken it upon themselves to ensure most employers, even those with just a few employees, minimize that risk by requiring training for all employees.

Since 2005, employers with at least 50 employees have been required to train and educate all personnel in supervisory positions in California in the prevention of sexual harassment. Now, any employer with enough employees to field a basketball team must provide sexual harassment training. The new law, proposed as Senate Bill 1343, lowers the minimum number of employees from 50 to 5, and also includes non-supervisors in the mandatory training.

SB 1343 also requires covered employers to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training and education to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of such training to all non-supervisory employees in California, by January 1, 2020. Training and education must be provided once every two years thereafter, as specified under the new law. The new law also creates requirements for California’s government agency charged with enforcement of civil rights, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Summary of Requirements:

By January 1, 2020, employers with at least five employees must provide: (1) at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees; and (2) at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory employees in California within six months of their assumption of either a supervisory or non-supervisory position. The training must be provided once every two years.

Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to temporary or seasonal employees within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked if the employee will work for less than six months. In the case of a temporary employee employed by a temporary services employer (as defined by the California Labor Code) to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.

The anti-sexual harassment training may be conducted with other employees, as a group, or individually, and broken up into shorter time segments, as long as the two-hour requirement for supervisory employees and one-hour requirement for non-supervisory employees is reached.

Employers who provide the required trainings after January 1, 2019, are not required to comply with the January 1, 2020, deadline.

The employment law attorneys at Thakur Law Firm, APC are knowledgeable in the latest employment law compliance issues, and they can assist your business in ensuring you do not run afoul of the ever-changing contours of California employment law.

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