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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Title IX and Sexual Assault/Harassment on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
Sexual Harassment Training is Required in CA – How to Make Sure Your Manager is Compliant with the Law.

The state of California is a leader when it comes to state-mandated sexual harassment training requirements. Where California differs from the majority states is these training requirements are for all private-sector employers, whereas the majority of states only require it for employees who work within the government sector. Sexual harassment in the workplace training comes with many different rules and regulations. In order to know if your manager is complying with this law, you must first understand what to look out for in your work environment.

 

The basics

The new California legislation that was enacted in 2018 now requires employers that have at least five employees to provide this training to all of their employees. This sexual harassment training should be done every two years to ensure all new and former employees are well educated on the matter. The duration requirements for the training workshops is different for different employee positions. The employees who hold non-supervisor positions must go through at least one hour of training, while the supervising employees will need to go through a two-hour training session on sexual harassment in the workplace. Finally, the deadline for your employer to provide this training is the first of the year.

 

Policy and procedures

The regulations state that an employer must develop a discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prevention policy, which needs to include multiple different entities, and all of it needs to be in writing. To begin, this needs to list all of the current categories that are covered under (FEHA) – California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act – and explain the protections offered to all employees against sexual harassment. Next, your employer needs to create a process for employees to file a complaint while ensuring confidentiality, as well as a timely and impartial response with an investigation, documentation, resolution actions, and closures. This process should also offer options that allow employees to file the complaint with someone who’s not their direct supervisor, which can be done by using a complaint hotline and/or a specified company representative, or similar.

 

Acceptable methods of training

The required interactive training can be done a few different ways, including traditional classroom, online, or a hybrid – which is typically recommended. With online learning, the instructor should be available to contact in case the employee and/or supervisor has questions or comments, and is also required to respond to these questions within two days. The trainer and employer should be keeping all of the correspondence and proof of participation well documented for at least two years.

 

Acceptable trainers

Just like with the actual training session, the person who’s training your employees on sexual harassment needs to hold certain qualifications. This person can be an attorney who has at least two years of practicing experience with employment law issues related to FEHA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An HR professional or a harassment prevention consultant is also acceptable if they have two years of experience in designing and handling sexual harassment training and complaint protocols.

 

As an employee, it’s important to understand your rights. Be sure to stay up to date on new rules and regulations enacted by the state of California to know if your employer is complying with these very serious laws set in place to keep the workplace safe.