Are you prepared to meet the sexual harassment training California deadline? The new California anti-harassment law is requiring employers to be compliant with state-regulated harassment training. If you fail to be compliant, you can be audited by the state government and face several fees.
Below, we will discuss 4 things about the state law and what you as an employer must accomplish by the deadline to avoid facing punishment from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
1) When is the Sexual Harassment California Training Deadline?
The sexual harassment training requirements were first introduced back in 2004 under Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825). This law required certain employers to provide sexual harassment training and education to supervisory employees. This intended to prevent harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.
Passed into law as Section 12950.1, it is regulated by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH defines sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances or verbal, physical, and visual harassment
of a sexual nature.
The DFEH monitors California employers ensuring that companies and small business owners comply with the California anti-harassment training laws by the target date. Since its introduction, it has received several amendments and deadline extensions.
California AB 1825 requirements
state employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to supervisory employees. This included any full-time employees, remote workers, independent contractors, and any agent of an employer or person acting as an agent of any employer, directly or indirectly. So if employers received work or services from 50 or more people, they were affected by the training requirements.
Under this bill, employers had to provide sexual harassment prevention training within one year of January 1, 2005. When the staff completed their training, they were then required to take the training again every two years thereafter.
In 2018, then-governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1343 (SB 1343
) into law. This bill was an improved version of the existing law featuring new additions and a new deadline.
SB 1343 reduced the number of employees required for employers to be eligible for the harassment training requirements. Instead of 50 employees or more, the new bill required business owners with 5 or more employees to follow the requirements.
The new California labor law
requires that nonsupervisory employees complete the sexual harassment training alongside the supervisors. Noticeable differences included the fact that non-supervisory employees needed to complete at least one hour of sexual harassment training and education whereas supervisory employees needed to complete at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training.
One thing that they have in common is that they both must complete the training within the first six months of hire. From then on, all employees must complete the training again two years from their last completion date.
In addition to including non-supervisory employees, the bill included temporary and seasonal employees. An employer has to provide training to any seasonal or temporary employees hired to work for less than six months. The bill requires that an employer must provide the training to employees within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first.
The deadline set by SB 1343 was January 1, 2020. Eligible employers must give the training to all employees by the Jan 1 deadline, however, if the employee already received training in 2019, then they did not need to meet the Jan 1 deadline.
In 2019, current CA Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 778 (SB 778) into law, effectively extending the deadline for employers with five or more employees to January 1, 2021.
So, if an employee has not yet received the proper training, then he or she must complete a course by January 1, 2021.
However, the bill specifies that business owners who trained their employees in 2019 are not required to provide more training until after the Jan 1 2021 deadline.
The employee is still required to receive training every two years after their last completion date, which is why it is important for business owners to retain a record of all employees' training for a minimum of two years.
2) What is Required For the Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training?
- The legal definition of sexual harassment and what constitutes harassment in California
- Include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
- The internal complaint process of the employer available to the employee
- Legal advice and the complaint process available through the department.
- Guidance regarding how to contact the department.
- The protection against retaliation of victims filing a complaint
- A link to the sexual harassment online training courses complaint with the DFEH
The goal of the training is to prevent harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workspace. It is the employer's duty to protect his or her employees.
This training may be completed individually or as part of a group presentation and may be completed in segments as long as the total time of the program is 2 hours for supervisors or one hour for non-supervisory employees.
As long as the above requirement is met, the training can be conducted online through a comprehensive course (such as EasyLlama’s) if the training and education program is completed by employees individually.
It is important to note that compliance with the training requirements does not protect an employer from sexual harassment claims. On the other hand, if an employer fails to be compliant with the requirements, this does not automatically result in liability for a claim.
3) What Penalties Are There for Noncompliance?
If you fail to comply with the requirements by the specified date, then you can face punishment from the DFEH. The DFEH can audit an employer's business to ensure that all employees are compliant. If the DFEH finds a violation, then the employer can face large non-compliance fines
At first, if the DFEH finds that employees have not been properly trained for compliance with the law by the deadline, then they will order the employer to comply and train the employees through a state mandate. If the employer still fails to comply with the law, then the DFEH will issue large non-compliance fines to the business owner.
Even worse than fees, if a business owner is not compliant with the training regulations when a harassment case arises, then the employer can face huge backlash for not taking preventative measures. This can severely hurt the business and its reputation, which is harder to recuperate from than money. If you are in rush to meet a deadline, good luck with using the free online California harassment training
. You can't track your employee's progress or properly keep records. That's why we recommend our modern solution.
4) Possible Extensions Due to COVID 19
The COVID 19 pandemic has caused difficulties for everyone
including business owners. With the current social distancing measures, it may be challenging for employers to organize the necessary training for employees.
In Connecticut, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) allow employers to file for an extension on their training requirements. The process includes a formal application to the CHRO explaining how COVID 19 has complicated and prevented employers from providing the training to their employees.
California has not yet stated whether or not they will follow with their own extension policy amidst the pandemic. Currently, California business owners look to safe online training to meet the requirements.
Looking for a Convenient Answer to Your Problems?
So, as an employer with more than 5 employees, you must comply with the California regulations by January 1, 2021. The required training for your staff can be given through different ways such as an online platform. If you fail to do this, you can face several non-compliance fines.
EasyLlama provides a safe and easy solution for you and your business. EasyLlama offers an online training program that is pursuant to the current law. It provides comprehensive training aimed at preventing harassment and promoting a safe working environment.
Click here to get started with compliance and establish a harassment-free workplace.