What is California Sexual Harassment Training?

Since 2019, all employers in California with five employees or more are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to everyone. Re-training is required every two years for every employee.

It was a major overhaul from previous anti-sexual harassment laws in the state. Employers are obliged to keep up with the changes. Our comprehensive guide to California sexual harassment prevention training is designed to help organizations and their leaders stay in compliance with these laws.

Who is required to have mandatory training?

Under the new California law, every employee is required to complete sexual harassment prevention training. Under previous iterations of state law, it was just supervisors who needed to train and keep up to date. Now, it’s all employees, for both the initial training and biennial re-training.

Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training while supervisory employees must receive two hours. Any temporary or seasonal employees must receive training within 30 calendar days of hire. Training is to be received within 100 hours worked if a person will be employed for less than six months. For workers placed through temporary services employers, that temporary services employer must provide the training.

Employees who are located outside of California are not required to complete training. However, employees inside and outside of California are taken into account when determining if 12950.1 section Code Government covers a company.

What is SB 1343?

California Senate Bill 1343 is the legislation requiring sexual harassment training for all employees. It includes a provision for training done in a group or individually. It also sets out that training can be done in shorter segments as long as the full hours are reached. The full SB law can be found here.

SB1343 expanded AB 1825 and extended the requirement to employers with just 5 employees and implemented 1 hour of training for non-supervisory employees.

What is AB 1825?

Assembly Bill 1825 is the previous regulation around California harassment prevention training, which SB 1343 modified. AB 1825 required training for supervisory employees only. It also only applied to companies with 50 or more employees. The assembly bill is located online here

AB 1825 was the original sexual harassment training law; it required employers with 50 or more employees to provide 2 hours of training every 2 years to supervisory employees.

Both of these laws are still in effect. New non-supervisory employees must receive the training within 6 months of their hire date and new supervisory employees must receive supervisory training within 6 months of assuming their supervisory position. 

Finvisor can also assist employers with the administration of the trainings; we have a few options for this and would love to connect with you today. 

Objectives for Sexual Harassment Training in California

The goal of sexual harassment prevention training in California is to educate people, change behavior, and improve workplace culture. Anyone undergoing training should receive information about how to prevent sexual harassment and their workplace rights around harassment.

Under the new California sexual harassment training requirements, the training must include information on statutes and case law, steps employers can take to prevent harassment, and remedies for victims of sexual harassment. It must include practical examples, resources, details on what to do if a supervisor is accused, and information on obligations to report.

Training has to share the elements of an anti-harassment policy and how it should be used. There must be questions to assess learning to ensure the training is effective and has been retained. Also, the training must include harassment based on gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation. Sexual harassment training in California has to be interactive, with employees and managers able to ask questions of the trainer and receive feedback, whether it be online or in person.

Compliance for SB 1343

The initial regulations gave employers until January 1, 2020 to complete sexual harassment pre-vention training. The government extended that deadline to January 1, 2021. Employers must keep documentation of training. There are repercussions for non-compliance with SB 1343, once that deadline is passed. If employers have not completed training, employees may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The department may seek an order requiring the employer to comply with these requirements. The company may be subject to penalties.

Compliance for AB 1825

Before SB 1343 modified AB 1825, it followed similar repercussions for non-compliance. Much like SB 1343, the fair employment and housing commissioner could issue an order requiring compliance within 60 days of that order.

Deadlines for SB 1343 and AB 1825

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill that extends the deadline for sexual harassment prevention training under SB 1343. Employers now have until January 1, 2021 to complete the requirement.

Employers who last trained in 2017 under AB 1825 should train employees again to maintain the two-year cycle. This is especially important to know if only supervisory employees were trained under AB 1825.

Employees must be trained within 6 months of being hired.  This applies to both supervisory and non-supervisory positions. 

Consequences of missing the deadlines

As noted above, employers who do not comply with sexual harassment prevention training regulations may be compelled to do so. Any employer who is not compliant with either of these pieces of legislation risks a lawsuit. As the author of AB 1825, Sarah Reyes, said, the “best penalty is a plaintiff’s lawyer.” That being said, training employees does not provide protection against liability.

How to never miss deadlines

To not miss these mandatory deadlines, be aware of when your organization’s last training was. For example, those who did training in 2019 are next required to do so in 2021, under the two-year re-training mandate.

Importance of Sexual Harassment Training and Education

Beyond the fact that it is mandatory in California, sexual harassment prevention training safe-guards employees and employers. It also empowers anyone who experiences sexual harassment to report it and see results. Ideally, the entire work environment changes for the better.

Ways that training improves workplaces

Training gives employees the ability to work together, in a community, toward a goal of safety and responsibility. It provides accountability, ensuring everyone knows what is and is not acceptable. This positively impacts workplaces in many areas from recruitment and retention, to employee morale.

Free Powerpoint Versus Paid Training

Pros/cons of free Powerpoint

Free Powerpoint-type sexual harassment prevention training has one big advantage — it’s free! However, this means the employer has to find someone in-house who can deliver that presentation, including assessment questions. Remember, sexual harassment prevention training has to be interactive as well, with trainers responding to questions from trainees within a reasonable time.

Ultimately, that free training may actually come at the cost of a lot of work on the part of the person delivering it, making it not so free after all.

Pros/cons of paid training

Paid training’s disadvantage is that it will impact a company’s budget, but that cost is often well worth it. Paid training can be customized to a workplace and its employers, providing the best resources and information. The trainer is also prepared and skilled in assessments, answering questions, and otherwise ensuring the information makes a difference.

How do I file a harassment complaint in California?

There are 3 steps you need to take to file a harassment lawsuit against a workplace in California:

If you have been exposed to harassment at work, the first step you need to take is to inform your employer.  In most cases, the employer will take immediate action to resolve the issue.

Additionally California law requires each employer to have and share a written anti-harassment policy.  The law also states that the employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a harassment complaint. 

If your employer chooses not to take action, your next step will be to file with the CRD and obtain a “right to sue” letter from them. It is important to understand that you have 3 years to file with the CRD.  Once you receive a letter for the “right to sue” you have 1 year to file the lawsuit. 



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