CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS — Be Sure To Reset The Clock On Employee Sexual Harassment Training

This past fall, California enacted  Senate Bill 1343,  a law that greatly expands the sexual harassment training requirements (AB 1825 training requirements) in California.

As we previously reported (in”NEW LAW: New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements For California Employers“), this law requires California employers with five or more employees provide sexual harassment training to both non-supervisory and supervisory employees (including all temporary and/or seasonal employees) as follows:

  • Existing Non-supervisory Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training by January 1, 2020.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
  • Non-supervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
  • Temporary or Seasonal Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked if the employee will work for less than six months.
    • NOTE: If the employee is employed by a temporary services employer, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.
  • Existing Supervisory Employees: At least two hours of sexual harassment training must be provided by January 1, 2020.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
  • Supervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 2 hours of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date.  Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.

However, one aspect of the law, relating to the timing of the training, was a little unclear.  With respect to the timing of the training, the law states

an employer who has provided this training and education to an employee after January 1, 2019, is not required to provide training and education by the January 1, 2020, deadline.

This left employers with one question — “If I provided my employees with compliant sexual harassment training in 2018, do I have to retrain the employees in 2019?”

In it’s newly published FAQs on California’s new sexual harassment training requirements (entitled “Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training — Information for Employers“), the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has responded with a resounding “YES!”

Q.  What if my employees were trained between January 1 and December 31, 2018?

A.  The law requires that employees be trained during calendar year 2019. Employees who were trained in 2018 or before will need to be retrained.

In order to ensure compliance with the new law, it is strongly recommended that California employers provide compliant sexual harassment training to all employees in 2019 — regardless of whether compliant training was provided in 2018.