Organizations who haven’t yet provided employees with sexual harassment training should be aware of deadlines that are right around the corner. Under Illinois’ anti-harassment law, employers have until December 31, 2020 to train all employees. For California, Connecticut and certain industries in Washington State, the deadline is January 1, 2021. And New York’s sexual harassment laws require employers to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training on an annual basis.
Here’s a quick review of the upcoming deadlines and requirements:
Deadline: December 31, 2020, and then annually
Under Illinois’ Workplace Transparency Act, all employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020. This includes short-term and part-time employees and interns. The Illinois Department of Human Rights also recommends training independent contractors who are working at an employer’s workplace or interacting with staff.
Illinois restaurants and bars need to provide sexual harassment training with specific material relevant to the restaurant or bar industry.
All licensed professionals regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) need to complete 1-hour of sexual harassment training annually to fulfill the continuing education requirement.
New York State
All employees must be trained on an annual basis
Since October 9, 2019, NY State requires all employers in New York to conduct sexual harassment training for all workers on an annual basis. This includes part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, regardless of their immigration status.
The training must be interactive and require some level of employee participation.
Employers should provide employees with training in the language spoken by their employees.
Employers are encouraged (not required) to keep a copy of training records and a signed acknowledgment that employees have read the organization’s sexual harassment prevention policy.
New York City
All employees must be trained each calendar year
In addition to complying with NY State training requirements, NYC employers with 15 or more employees have other requirements under the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.
Employers must train independent contractors if they work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and for at least 90 days.
Training must explain how to engage in bystander intervention.
Training records must be kept for a minimum of three years.
Deadline: January 1, 2021, and then every two years
California employers with 5 or more employees must train all employees and supervisors by Jan. 1, 2021, and then every two years.
Supervisors must complete at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training, and nonsupervisory employees must complete at least one hour of training.
Seasonal and temporary employees must receive one hour of training within 30 calendar days or 100 hours, if they work for less than six months.
New hires must receive training within six months of their start date.
Employers should retain training records for a minimum of two years.
A new law required hotels and motels to train employees on human trafficking awareness by January 1, 2020, and then every two years.
Deadline: February 9, 2021 (as extended by Executive Order)
Connecticut recently extended the deadline to February 9, 2021 (as extended by Executive Order) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Time’s Up Act, all employers are required to provide two hours of interactive sexual harassment training to supervisors, or within six months of an employee taking on a supervisory role. Employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of training to all employees.
Employers are encouraged to keep training records for a minimum of one year.
Benefits of online harassment training
As COVID-19 keeps many employees away from the physical workplace, organizations can take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of online harassment training. By incorporating new eLearning technologies and strategies, online training can humanize compliance topics with realistic video scenarios and interactivity to deepen employees’ understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.
Amid the evolving changes caused by COVID-19 and other business uncertainties, deadlines remain for many organizations to train employees on sexual harassment prevention before the end of the year. As part of a comprehensive strategy to address and prevent harassment and other forms of misconduct, a modern, interactive approach to harassment training can engage and motivate a diverse workforce, whether they are working onsite, in the field or from home.