New Deadline for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training in California
For almost fifteen years, California law has required that employers of 50 or more employees provide sexual harassment prevention training at least once every two years to employees in supervisory roles, and within six months of employees being hired or promoted to supervisory roles.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, roughly two years ago, the Governor of California signed Senate Bill 1343 into law, which greatly expanded the training requirement so that employers of only five or more employees must provide sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to their employees at least once every two years, and that it be provided to all employees in California, not just those in supervisory or management roles. The training must meet certain statutory requirements as to content and duration and be provided by a qualified trainer, as defined under the statute.
Although the new law initially gave employers until January 1, 2020, to meet the new requirements, on August 30, 2019, the law was changed once again.
The deadline by which employers must meet the broader training requirements has now been extended to January 1, 2021. The one-year extension of the deadline was a welcome reprieve for many employers and organizations in California that felt unprepared to meet the obligations by the start of 2020.
The new law also clarifies that employers who trained employees in 2018 can stay on schedule and provide training again in 2020 to remain in compliance with the two-year requirement; and employers who provided legally sufficient training in 2019 will not need to retrain those employees until two years after that date, during the 2021 year.
However, beginning on January 1, 2020, seasonal hires, temporary workers and other employees who are hired to work for less than six months must receive training within 30 days of their hiring or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. (In regard to temps who are employed by a temporary services employer to perform services for clients, as defined in Section 201.3 of the California Labor Code, the training should be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.)
Also beginning on January 1, 2020, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, as defined in the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), are to be provided sexual harassment prevention training at the time of hire and at least once every two years, consistent with the training required for non-supervisory employees pursuant to Section 1684(a)(8) of the California Labor Code.
Although the deadline by which employers of five or more employees must provide legally sufficient training to their other California employees has been extended, it is important to understand that in the interim, employers of 50 or more employees must continue to comply with their existing and ongoing obligations for training employees in supervisory roles.
Trainings by Reavis Page Jump LLP
RPJ has long provided discrimination, sensitivity and anti-harassment trainings to our clients. In light of new legal requirements in the wake of #MeToo, we have updated our in-person and online training programs to satisfy the statutory requirements of New York State, New York City, California and Connecticut. While Massachusetts and New Jersey do not require training by law, our online courses include state-specific supplements for employers in these states as well. In addition, we have released a special “attorney version” of our online training course for attorneys to earn CLE credits while satisfying New York and/or California training requirements, as discussed here. RPJ also assists companies and organizations in writing policies and postings that must be made available to their employees according to the new legal obligations.
RPJ’s engaging, interactive programs are led by attorneys and human resources professionals of our firm, drawing on our unique perspective from decades of experience in the legal trenches of employment law, discrimination prevention and dispute resolution.
To learn more about RPJ’s live and online training programs, please visit our Training Programs page or contact Deena R. Merlen directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 212-763-4160 (NY) or 203-653-4422 (CT).
This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues. It is not considered to be legal advice or relied upon in regard to particular legal matters. If you seek assistance with a particular employment law or labor law matter, please contact RPJ Partner Deena R. Merlen to discuss.