As we start the new year, many employers take this time to review what their legal obligations are regarding sexual harassment and training in the workplace. This is particularly true this year, as the recently passed SB 1343 has changed the sexual harassment training requirements in the state of California.
Step 1: Know the Deadlines
While SB 1343 originally intended to require all training to have been completed by January 1, 2020, in August of 2019, Governor Newsom delayed the requirement, providing employers with an additional year to become compliant with the new sexual harassment training. All sexual harassment prevention training must now be completed by January 1, 2020.
Step 2: Know the Requirements
In the state of California, employers with at least five employees must provide certain training to employees. These requirements include:
- At least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training be provided to all supervisory employees, and at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training be provided to all non-supervisory employees within six months of assuming either a supervisory or non-supervisory position. This training must be provided once every two years.
- Sexual harassment prevention training is provided to temporary and seasonal employees within 30 calendar days of hire or before 100 hours of work if the employee will work for fewer than six months. Employees who work for temporary employment agencies are responsible for providing this training, rather than their clients.
- The sexual harassment training may be conducted with other employees, as a group or individually. It may also be broken into shorter time segments, as long as the total hourly requirement is met.
- Employers who provided this training in 2019 are not required to provide it again until 2021.
Step 3: Know What Topics Must Be Covered
There are minimum requirements for what topics must be included in any sexual harassment prevention training. Knowing what these topics are can help you to identify a training resource that will work for your agency. Requirements include the following topics, among others:
- FEHA and Title VII definitions of sexual harassment
- Federal and state statutory and case law principles
- The types of conduct that constitute harassment
- Strategies to prevent sexual harassment
- Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment
- Resources for victims of sexual harassment
Step 4: Identify Resources
The law provides four different types of sexual harassment prevention training formats. SHRM has listed acceptable modes of training, which include:
- Classroom, or in-person training by a supervisor with trainer-created content.
- E-learning formats, which can be individualized, interactive, and computer-based training resources created by a trainer.
- Webinar training with content created and delivered by a trainer and transmitted electronically in real-time.
- Other ‘effective interactive training’ and education that uses technology in conjunction with other educational resources.
As the law provides for a wide array of different formats that are acceptable for delivering the training to employees, there are many existing resources that employers can utilize. Some acceptable training resources include those provided by:
- The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA): Their site offers publications and information about the requirements. You may also access training webinars (available to public governmental employees) or request a speaker.
- CalChamber: CalChamber has many resources available to HRCalifornia members or for purchase that can help employers meet the training requirements.
- SHRM: This site provides sample forms and policies, facts about the law, training materials, and toolkits.
- HR Specialists: For companies working in the private sector, there are many training specialists who can come to your organization and ensure that all training is provided and documented in accordance with the legal requirements. These options are often selected since they provide custom training that address the company’s own policies, procedures and real life potential scenarios based on the company’s industry, making the training that much more engaging, interactive, interesting and memorable; which can lead to a reduction in sexual harassment claims. Such Specailists include contacting companies such as CA HR Services that perform these trainings in-person or via E-learning formats.
All training must be documented according to FEHA regulations, which state that documentation include: the date of training, names of attendees, names of trainers or the training provided, the type of training, a sign-in sheet, copies of all written materials (e.g. policies, quizzes), copies of recorded training materials, copies of all written questions and responses, copies of any certificates provided. Employers must keep these records for at least two years. To schedule your sexual harassment training, you may contact CA HR Services at 858-228-5535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 5: Develop a Plan for 2020…and Beyond
The bottom line is that there are a plenty of resources available to your that will aid you in meeting California’s sexual harassment prevention training requirements, so planning for 2020 is simply a matter of determining a delivery method that works best and a time in which you can schedule for the employees (or several times if in small groups or individual sessions). Once you have all of your current employees trained, it is also a good time to develop a procedure for ensuring that new employees also get the training within the required time period, and to plan for training that will be required in future years.