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FAQs About California’s New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

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California sexual harassment training FAQs

If you’re a California employer, you likely have questions about meeting the new sexual harassment training requirements under SB 1343 and SB 778. To help you keep track of what you need to do and when, we put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Q1. What are SB 1343 and SB 778?
A. Enacted in 2018, California Senate Bill 1343 requires California employers with five or more employees to provide interactive sexual harassment training and education to both supervisors and nonsupervisory staff by January 1, 2021 (as amended by SB 778). SB 1343 represents a big change in scope from AB 1825, which only applied to employers with 50 or more workers and required them to train only supervisors, not all employees. SB 778 was passed August 30, 2019 and extended the training deadline from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

Q2. Are there different requirements for employees and supervisors?
A. Yes, the new law requires that employers provide two hours of classroom or other interactive training for supervisory employees and one hour of training for nonsupervisory employees. Employees who are promoted to a supervisory position must receive additional training within six months of their promotion.

Q3. How often must organizations provide sexual harassment training?
A. After completing the initial training, employees must be retrained every two years.

Q4. What if I have new hires?
A. All new employees, both supervisory and nonsupervisory staff must be provided training within six months of hire. Additionally, employees who are promoted to a supervisory position must receive additional training within six months of their promotion.

Q5. Do temporary employees need training?
A. Yes. Seasonal and temporary employees – or any employee hired to work for less than six months – must receive training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

Q6. What if employees were trained in 2019? 
A. An employer who has provided training and education to an employee in 2019 is not required to provide refresher training and education again until two years thereafter.

Q7. What form can the training take?
A. According to the DFEH, employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training in a classroom setting, through interactive eLearning courses or in a live webinar. 

Q8. What must the training cover?
A. Training must cover a wide range of topics, including a definition of sexual harassment under state and federal law California’s FEHA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; different types of sexual harassment conduct; strategies to prevent sexual harassment; remedies and resources available to targets and survivors of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it; and practical examples to help supervisors recognize and prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

In addition, the training must explain abusive conduct in the workplace, and harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. Training must also discuss supervisors’ obligation to report harassment and the limited confidentiality of the complaint process. Further, the training must include questions and activities that assess learning and build skills, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.

Q9. Do I need to keep records of the training?
A. To track compliance, employers must keep training documentation for a minimum of two years.

Bonus Question
What are some of the advantages of interactive, online sexual harassment training?
A. Innovations in eLearning, video production and LMS technology are making online sexual harassment training more effective with employees and more efficient for HR and training departments. With the right blend of relevant content, interactivity and high quality videos and other design elements, online training can engage employees in fresh ways that raise awareness of sexual harassment, promote positive behavior and help foster a respectful inclusive workplace culture.

Traliant’s award-winning online Preventing Discrimination and Harassment training for California employees and supervisors meets all the training requirements under SB 1343 and more.  Employees are motivated to actively participate in the course through bite-sized episodes, realistic video scenarios and interactive quizzes and assessments with engagement points. The training is available in versions tailored for offices, restaurants, hotels, healthcare, and manufacturing/industrial organizations and can easily be customized with a company’s logo, policies, reporting procedures and CEO message. There’s also an instructor-led classroom training program for employers who want to combine both online and classroom training.

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