April 26, 2019

sexual harassment training requirements by state

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, 2021

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: All Connecticut employers 

When: New employees hired on or after October 1, 2019 must be trained within six months of hire.  Existing employees must be trained by October 1, 2020, with periodic retraining not less than every 10 years.

What: Employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. All employers, regardless of the size of their workforce, must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors by October 1, 2020, or within six months of an employee taking on a supervisory role. 


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:  All Illinois employers

When: Effective January 1, 2020, all employees must receive sexual harassment training on an annual basis.

What: Bars and restaurants must provide sexual harassment training and policies tailored to their industry. 


*Rhode Island

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.

Traliant Insight

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.