In the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp, more states and local governments are strengthening their anti-harassment laws and requiring employers to provide sexual harassment training to employees. For many organizations, meeting these new requirements means updating and expanding current sexual harassment training programs, policies and internal reporting processes – all important steps in combating the pervasive problem of workplace harassment.
Wondering where your state stands on requiring sexual harassment training? Here’s a roundup. And if your state hasn’t yet issued new legislation, stay tuned.
Who: Employers with five or more employees must train all employees and supervisors within six months of their start date, and then retrain every two years.
When: By January 1, 2020
What: Supervisory employees must complete at least two hours of training.
✓ Nonsupervisory employees must complete at least one hour of training.
✓ New supervisory employees must be trained within six months of their promotion to supervisory positions.
✓ Temporary and seasonal employees – or any employee hired to work less than six months – must also be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first, according to California law.
New York State
Who: All NY employees must complete sexual harassment training, and then receive training annually.
When: By October 9, 2019
What: New employees should be trained as soon as possible after their start date.
✓ All workers must be trained, regardless of immigration status. Employees include part-time, temporary and seasonal workers.
New York City
Who: For NYC employers with 15 or more employees. While NYC employers must comply with the New York State laws, there are additional training requirements under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.
When: Effective April 1, 2019, employers are required to train their employees annually.
What: Employers are encouraged to train new employees as soon as possible.
✓ The training requirement applies to employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and work for at least 90 days.
Who: Employers with 50 or more employees
When: Current Connecticut law requires that supervisory employees be trained within six months of their hire or promotion to a supervisory role.
What: Employers must provide two hours of training to all supervisory employees.
Who: Employers with 50 or more employees
When: Effective on January 1, 2019.
What: Employers must provide interactive training and education to all employees by December 31, 2019.
✓ All new employees hired after January 1, 2019 must be trained within the first year of their start date, and then every two years.
✓ Supervisors must receive additional training on their responsibilities to prevent and correct sexual harassment and retaliation, and be retrained every two years.
Who: Employers with 15 or more employees
When: Employers must provide training to all employees within one year of their start date.
What: Supervisory and managerial employees must receive additional training on their specific responsibilities to address sexual harassment complaints within one year of their hire or promotion.
Who: If enacted, the Workplace Transparency Act would apply to all Illinois employers.
What: In April, 2019, the Illinois Senate passed the Workplace Transparency Act (SB1829), which includes a requirement that employers provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis.
Next steps: The Workplace Transparency Act must next pass the Illinois House of Representatives.
Who: If enacted, 2019-S0330 would apply to employers with four or more employees.
What: In April, 2019, the Rhode Island Senate passed legislation requiring employers with four or more employees to conduct sexual harassment education and training. New employees would be required to receive training within one month of their hire date.
Next steps: The bill moves to Rhode Island’s House of Representatives for consideration.
New and expanded state and local anti-harassment laws are keeping #MeToo in the spotlight, requiring employers to make changes in the content and frequency of their sexual harassment training programs. While specifics may vary from state to state, one message is clear: all employers should be taking steps now to ensure sexual harassment training programs meet the legal requirements and, importantly, provides an engaging, relevant experience for employees.
Effective sexual harassment training should focus on raising awareness, changing behavior and teaching employees how to step in and speak up when they see or experience misconduct. Training that is interactive and reflects the organization’s working environment and issues is an essential step in creating a respectful, inclusive workplace culture.