California Online Sexual Harassment Training & Prevention
Thousands of employers choose Traliant’s sexual harassment training.
California Requires Sexual Harassment Training for All Employees
Under the California Code, employers with at least five employees or contractors must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, including supervisory and nonsupervisory employees, every two years. CCR 12950.1. The training must take at least 1 hour for nonsupervisory employees and at least 2 hours for supervisory employees to complete. In addition, the Code specifies certain content that must be included in the training.
These training requirements went into effect in 2018, and reflected a change in the law, which previously required employers with fifty or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training only to supervisors.
California Sexual Harassment Training Law FAQs
The information in the following FAQs reflect the current sexual harassment prevention training requirements for 2023 for employers with employees in California, and are intended to help organizations comply with the California training requirements.
Which employers are covered under California’s sexual harassment prevention training law?
Employers with five or more employees or other persons providing contracted services must provide sexual harassment prevention training to California employees.
Employees or contractors who work outside California count when determining if an employer must provide sexual harassment prevention training. For example, if the employer has two California employees but has a total of five workers, the employer must provide sexual harassment training to the two employees who work in California.
When must new employees and new supervisors be trained?
Covered employers must provide sexual harassment training to new employees within six (6) months of hire and must train new supervisors within six (6) months of assuming a supervisory position.
A supervisor is anyone with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees. A supervisor is also someone with the authority to effectively recommend these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment.
Who must be trained?
All employees and supervisors in California must be trained. The law does not require employers to train independent contractors, volunteers, or unpaid interns. Nevertheless, prudent employers provide training to these persons to ensure a harassment-free workplace for everyone.
Employers are not required to train employees who do not work in the State of California. Note, however, that other states in which employees work may have similar sexual harassment training requirements.
Moreover, prudent employers will recognize that providing training to independent contractors and out-of-state employees who regularly interact with California employees is an essential component of protecting itself from harassment liability in California. As expressly stated in the law, the requirements establish a “minimum threshold” and “should not…relieve any employer” from providing any additional training necessary “to meet its obligations to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct harassment and discrimination.” (Cal. Gov. Code § 12950.1(e).)
Are employers required to train temporary and seasonal employees?
Yes. Employers must provide training to any employee who works less than six (6) months, including temporary and seasonal employees.
The training must be provided either within thirty calendar days from the first-day worked; or within the first 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.
However, an employer who is a client of a temporary staffing agency need not train individuals at the worksite who are provided by the agency. Instead, the temporary staffing agency is required to train those individuals.
Is the training required to be a certain length?
Yes. The training must be one hour for nonsupervisory employees and two hours for supervisory employees.
Can the training be completed individually online?
Yes. The training may be completed individually online so long as it meets the effective e-learning and duration requirements.
Also, the training need not be completed all at once. It may be completed in shorter segments, provided the length requirement is met. E-learning training may use bookmarking features, which allows the employee to pause the training, so long as the actual e-learning content meets or exceeds the time requirements.
What must be included in the content of the training?
California employers must ensure the training includes information and practical guidance on the following:
- The definition of sexual harassment under Title VII and FEHA
- Federal and state statutes and case law prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment
- Types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment with practical examples
- The definition of “abusive conduct” under state law
- Prevention strategies for harassment and abusive conduct
- Information about preventing abusive conduct and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression
- Supervisor’s duty to report harassment
- What to do if a supervisor is personally accused of harassment
- An explanation of limited confidentiality of the complaint and investigation process
- Questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions
- Remedies and resources (to whom to report harassment) available for sexual harassment victims
- How employers must correct harassing behavior
The training must also include the employer’s anti-harassment policy and employees must read and acknowledge receipt of the policy.
Are employers required to provide bystander intervention training?
No. However, California law encourages employers to include bystander intervention training as part of harassment training. Specifically, employers are encouraged to provide all employees with bystander intervention training providing practical guidance on how to enable bystanders to recognize and take action when they observe problematic behaviors. The purpose of the training is to provide employees who may see sexual harassment occurring in the workplace with the sills and confidence to intervene, and the resources for support if they are unable to intervene.
Traliant’s online training Positive Workplace covers prevention of sexual harassment and all forms of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, as well as bystander intervention, workplace civility, and bullying prevention.
What are the learning objectives of the training?
California regulations state that the learning objectives of the training must be designed to:
- Assist employers in correcting workplace behaviors that create or contribute to harassment based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
- Provide employees with information about the negative effects of abusive conduct.
- Develop, foster, and encourage values in employees that will help them prevent, effectively respond, and develop methods to promptly address and correct harassing, or other wrongful workplace behavior in the workplace.
Do employees or supervisors who were trained at another employer need to retake the training?
It depends. If an employee or supervisor took compliant training at another employer within the past two years, they need not retake the training. Note that the employer still must provide a copy of its anti-harassment policy to all new employees within six (6) months of hire. However, each employer is responsible for ensuring that all employees including supervisors, receive training that complies with California training requirements. Most employers find it easier to have employees and supervisors retake the training provided by their organization to ensure compliance and avoid potential liability for relying on training provided elsewhere.
When do employees need to be retrained?
Employees must receive sexual harassment training once every two years. Employers may use a two-year “training year” cycle to determine when to retrain employees. For example, if an employer trains employees sometime in 2020, the employer must provide retraining no later than December 31, 2022. Employers who adopt this tracking method need to ensure that new employees and supervisors who receive training within six months of hire/promotion are included in the next training year, even if that is less than two years after their initial training. An employer may not extend the training year for the new employees and new supervisors beyond the two-year training year.
Employers may also use individual tracking to determine retraining requirements. In this case, the employer must ensure that each employee receives retraining within two years from the date they last completed training.
What documentation must an employer keep regarding the training?
Employers must keep documentation relating to employee training, including, but not limited, to:
- names of employees trained
- date of training
- a sign-in sheet
- a copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued
- the type of training
- a copy of all materials (written or recorded) that comprise the training
- name of the training provider
The employer must maintain this documentation for at least two years.
Do employers have to pay employees for the training time?
Yes, employees must be paid for the training time. California law states that the employer “shall provide…” sexual harassment and abusive conduct training. Thus, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide training – and not employees – and therefore the employer must pay for any costs incurred in implementing training. In fact, the DFEH is authorized to seek a court order to compel an employer to provide the training. The statutory language also makes clear that employees may not be required to take the training during personal time. Instead, the training must be provided as part of their employment.
What if the law changes and my organization’s training courses need to be updated?
While many providers offer training on preventing workplace harassment, few have the legal and instructional design expertise required to comply with harassment training laws, such as those in California.
Traliant’s more than 1,000 clients sleep well knowing that we regularly monitor laws around the country to ensure our training stays up-to-date and compliant. Indeed, we have updated our harassment course on numerous occasions in the last few years to comply with new state and local training laws. Importantly, Traliant does not charge its clients to update course content due to changes in the law.
Are there any other harassment-prevention obligations under California law?
Employers must display required workplace posters: All employers must post the California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment poster (DFEH-E07P). Employers with at least five employees must post (a) the Transgender Rights in the Workplace poster (DFEH-E04P) and (b) the Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee poster, poster (DFEH-E09P). Employees with at least 20 employees must post the Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave poster (DFEH-100-21).
Employers must distribute the DFEH Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet to all employees.
Employers must also distribute a Sexual Harassment Poster or fact sheet issued by the DFEH to all employees. An employer may choose to distribute individual copies of the poster (DFEH-185P) or the fact sheet (DFEH-185) to meet the “brochure” requirement.). The employer may choose the distribution manner as long as the method chosen ensures all employees receive the brochure.
In the alternative, an employer may develop an equivalent written notice containing the required information:
- the definition and illegality of sexual harassment under state and federal law
- a description of sexual harassment with examples
- the employer’s internal complaint process available to employees
- legal remedies and the complaint process available through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
- directions on how to contact the DFEH
- the protection against retaliation
- a link to, or website, for the sexual harassment online training course developed by the DFEH
Employers must adopt and distribute a written discrimination and harassment prevention policy. The policy must contain specific information set forth in the regulations and must be distributed in a manner that ensures every employee receives a copy of and understands the policy. See 2 CCR § 11023(b) for more information
Are there any other recent harassment-related updates under California Law?
Yes, including those summarized below.
Employer Liability for Harassment by Non-Employees
SB 1300 expanded harassment protection and liability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under this new law, employers may be liable for unlawful harassment perpetrated by non-employees against employees or non-employees, including interns, volunteers, and contractors. Previously, FEHA only addressed sexual harassment liability by non-employees. The law went into effect on January 1, 2019.
Liability for a Single Incident of Harassment
SB 1300 also rejected the “stray remarks doctrine” and confirms that a single incident of harassing conduct is sufficient to create a triable issue of the existence of a hostile work environment. The law went into effect on January 1, 2019.
As a result, California law now provides that “a single incident of harassment is sufficient to create a triable issue of a hostile work environment if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”
Prohibition Against Certain Non-Disparagement and Release of Claims Provisions in Agreements
SB 1300 also prohibited employers from requiring an employee to execute a release of claims under FEHA or sign a non-disparagement agreement preventing disclosure of unlawful workplace acts in exchange for a raise or bonus or as a condition of continued employment. Any such agreement is deemed void as contrary to public policy. The law went into effect on January 1, 2019.
Non-Disclosure Agreements Banned
SB 820 prohibited and voided non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements arising from sexual assault or harassment, sex discrimination, or retaliation claims entered into on or after January 1, 2019.
More specifically, an employer may not require an employee to sign a release, non-disparagement agreement, or any other document that prohibits a person from disclosing information about unlawful acts in the workplace.
However, the new law allows a claimant to request an agreement provision that shields their identity (including facts that could reveal their identity) and preclude disclosure of the settlement amount paid if the opposing party is not a public official or government agency.
Why Choose Traliant’s Harassment Prevention Training?
Traliant’s Sexual Harassment Prevention training uses practical examples to teach employees what sexual harassment and abusive conduct is, and what it is not. In addition, the training teaches employees what they can do to aid in preventing sexual harassment. In addition to a focus on learning design, our training is 50-state compliant so it meets all harassment prevention training requirements. You can rest easy knowing that we will always keep our training up-to-date with the latest federal and state laws regarding sexual harassment prevention.