Despite laws to combat workplace discrimination, complaints of sexual harassment are among the top charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a frequent source of lawsuits. Whether employees are working onsite or remotely, employers are responsible for complying with federal, state and city training requirements to prevent sexual harassment.
Mandatory or not, ongoing sexual harassment training complements an organization’s strict anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures to prevent unwanted behavior and foster a culture of respect, diversity and inclusion that new and existing employees want to be a part of. Looming end of year state legal requirements are another reason to ensure employees and managers have completed 2021 training to identify acts of sexual misconduct, know how to effectively intervene and promptly report harassing behaviors without the fear of retaliation.
Here’s a list of states and cities that mandate sexual harassment prevention training and their requirements.
California law requires employers with 5 or more employees to train all employees and supervisors every 2 years.
- Supervisors must complete at least 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training, and nonsupervisory employees must complete at least 1 hour of training.
- Seasonal and temporary employees must receive 1 hour of training within 30 calendar days or 100 hours if they work for less than 6 months.
- New hires must receive training within 6 months of their start date.
- Employers must retain employee training records for a minimum of 2 years.
Connecticut’s Time’s Up Act requires all employers to provide 2 hours of interactive sexual harassment training to supervisors within 6 months of taking a supervisory role. Employers with 3 or more employees must provide 2 hours of training to all employees.
- Employers are encouraged to keep training records for a minimum of 1 year.
Delaware law mandates employers with 50 or more employees to conduct interactive training and education with all employees and supervisors within the first year of their start date, and then every 2 years. Supervisors must receive additional training on their responsibilities to prevent and correct sexual harassment and retaliation.
Under Illinois’ Workplace Transparency Act, all employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training annually, including 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 also need to provide sexual harassment training to employees that covers 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.
Maine requires employers with 15 or more employees to conduct training within 1 year of hire. Supervisory and managerial employees must also receive additional training on their specific responsibilities to address complaints of sexual harassment. Employers must keep training records for at least 3 years.
New York State
NY State requires all employers 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 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
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 3 years.
The state of Washington requires hotels, motels, retailers, security guard entities and property-services contractors to train managers, supervisors and employees on preventing sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination in the workplace. Employers must also educate their workforce on the protections for employees who report violations of a state or federal law, rule or regulation.
Providing ongoing sexual harassment training to employees and managers throughout the year, regardless of where they are physically located, is a best practice for fostering a safe and respectful workplace environment.
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