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California Sexual Harassment Training

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Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825) and new Government Code section 12950.1 is the first law of its kind to actually outline the requirements for effective compliance training, setting the standard not only for California, but for the rest of the country as well. Thorough knowledge about the requirements will ensure appropriate legal compliance.

california capital buildingAlso, for multi-state organizations that may be required to provide anti-harassment training in other states such as Connecticut and Maine, familiarity with the California regulations will assist in achieving nationwide compliance.

Questions

Answers

What Types of Businesses Are Covered?

Employers conducting business in California with 50 or more employees (including part-time or contractors) in the state of California. To be counted as an “employee,” the employee does not need to be physically located in California.

Who Must be Trained?

Supervisors who are located in California must be trained.

How Often Should Supervisors Be Trained?

  • Supervisors must be trained at least once every two years, tracked by either the “individual” tracking method or “training year” tracking. Specific definitions of those two methods are included in the regulations.
  • Newly hired supervisors and people promoted into supervisory positions must receive the training within six months of assuming the supervisory position. If the person received compliant training in the two years before assuming the new role, the employer only needs to give the person a copy of the organization’s harassment policy and require them to read it and acknowledge receipt of it. After that, the person only needs to be trained once every two years.

How Long Should the Training Last?

On-site and online or webinar training must be at least two hours in length. For e-learning training, the program must also take no less than two hours to complete. It is important to note, the 2-hour requirement does not include meal or rest breaks.

Who Should Conduct the Training?

  • Trainers must have the training and experience to train on certain subjects. Instructional designers must develop the training based on materials provided by qualified presenters with the knowledge and expertise in the prevention, discrimination and retaliation related to sexual harassment.
  • The regulations are very specific about who is considered qualified to be a trainer and provide criteria for determining the qualifications of corporate investigator’s, attorneys, HR professionals, training consultants, and professors and instructors who are permitted to create content and deliver the training.

What Should the Training Course Consist Of?

Regardless of the training method, the content must include certain questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to measure understanding and application as well as scenarios with questions to keep the supervisors engaged.


The required subject areas are:

  • Definitions of unlawful sexual harassment under California state and federal law.
  • California state and federal statutory and case law principles about the prohibition against and prevention of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in employment.
  • The types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
  • The remedies for sexual harassment.
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment.
  • “Practical examples,” such as factual scenarios taken from case law, news and media accounts, scenario’s based on workplace situations and other sources which illustrate sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation using training modalities such as role plays, case studies and group discussions.
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process.
  • Resources for victims of unlawful sexual harassment, such as to whom they should report any alleged sexual harassment.
  • The employer’s obligation to conduct an effective workplace investigation of a harassment complaint.
  • Training on what to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment.

Either the employer’s policy or a sample policy must be provided and regardless of whether the employer’s policy is used as part of the training. Supervisors must be given a copy of the organizations’ anti-harassment policy and required to read and to acknowledge receipt of the policy.

How Do Supervisors Ask Questions During E-learning Courses?

E-learning courses must provide links to a trainer or directions about how to contact a trainer for questions. Also, a trainer must be available to answer questions and provide other guidance about the training within a reasonable time (no more than 2 days after a question is asked).

What Type of Documentation is the Employer Supposed to Keep?

  1. The name of the supervisor who was trained, the date of the training, the type of training and the name of the facilitator.
  2. The records must be retained for at least two years.

What Are The Penalties for Not Providing Training?

  • The regulations state that the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) is permitted to enter an order of non-compliance against the employer and can require compliance within 60 days of the order.
  • In addition to the penalties in the regulations, your company should consider the possible negative effects in litigation that may be brought against your company by current or former employees who may claim you did not provide the appropriate training.

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