California Sexual Harassment Training Requirements 2021
Is your company compliant with the new California sexual harassment prevention laws?
During the apex of the chaotic #MeToo movement, California lawmakers tightened the current harassment laws, mandating that all employers with five or more employees must to provide sexual harassment prevention training to each employees by January 1, 2020. However, the public outcry from the business community was too much, and subsequently Governor Newsom signed into effect a law extending the deadline to January 1, 2021.
Summary Of new legal requirements:
At the prompting of the business community, the state legislature introduced and passed SB 778 to make some needed clarifications to the new sexual harassment prevention training law. Primarily, SB 778 would delay the changes made by SB 1343 – so employers would have an additional year to get up to speed with and comply with the new training requirements.
What Does The New Law Mean For Employers?
With the signing of SB 778, California employers with five or more employees will now be required to provide by January 1, 2021: At least two hours of classroom, or other “effective interactive training and education” regarding sexual harassment prevention to all management employees; and at least one hour classroom or other “effective interactive training and education” regarding sexual harassment prevention to all non-management employees.
- Following the completion of the initial sexual harassment prevention training, the employer must provide the requisite sexual harassment and prevention training to each employee once every two years.
- SB 778 additionally requires that covered employers are required to provide training to non-management employees within six months of hire, and to new management employees, within six months of their hiring date.
- Finally, SB 778 clarifies that a covered employer who provided the requisite sexual harassment prevention training to employees in 2019 is not required to provide refresher training for those employees until two years after the initial training.
How to prepare for new training requirements:
This is not the time to let your guard down. For most California employers, complying with the requirements of the new law by the beginning of 2021 will be a large undertaking and will require preparation and diligence. This is particularly true for employers who do not currently provide sexual harassment prevention training for their non-supervisory employees, or did not previously provide training to supervisors because they fall under the 50-employee threshold. MVP Seminars & EHT training are the two largest providers of on-site harassment training in California & will gladly assist in answering your questions, & help you with the maze of state requirements. Click Here to book a trainer now.
All employers should have an anti-harassment policy of their own developed and distributed to all employees. Employers are required to develop a harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy that meets the following requirements.
- Policy must include all current protected categories covered under the new Ca. mandated laws
- Must provide information covering the law that prohibits co-workers, managers, or third-parties from engaging in retaliation, or other forms of discrimination.
- Policy must address a seamless complaint process to ensure that complaints are handled professionally & with confidentiality, to the extent possible.
- Quick and timely response is essential during the entire harassment grievance process
- Impartial and timely investigations by HR director or manager
- Documentation and tracking of all issues
- Provide realistic options for remedial actions and resolutions
- Timely closures, with written summary
- Seminar must provide a complaint process that does not require an employee to complain directly to his or her immediate supervisor
- Describe the manager’s responsibility to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager, so the company can try to resolve the claim internally. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to include this as a topic in mandated sexual harassment prevention training, pursuant to section 11024.
- Training must incorporate the process or flow of information & how the employer receives allegations of misconduct, & exactly how they should act, during the chain of command process.
- Understanding that confidentiality will be kept by the employer to every extent possible, but not promising that the investigation will be completely confidential, which is impossible, due to the extensive interview process.
- Must provide forms that stipulate that if misconduct is found, appropriate remedial punitive measures shall be taken.
- Pointing out that employees shall not be exposed to retaliation of any kind
Employers should also routinely discuss their sexual harassment policy with employees at follow-up training meetings, and remind them of the complaint procedures. This additional training will show that the company is serious about preventing harassment and is taking affirmative steps to protect its employees, over and beyond the specific California state laws.
By January 1, 2021, employers covered under SB 1343 must provide sexual harassment prevention training. SB 778 clarifies that a covered employer who provided the requisite sexual harassment training and prevention to an employee in 2019 is not required to provide refresher training and education again for such employee until two years after the training was completed.
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