In 2004, the state of California passed Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825) which requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees in order to promote a safer work environment. The California AB 1825 training requirements are aimed at instructing supervisors on how to deal with harassment cases and prevention methods to protect their employees.
Since it was passed into law as Section 12950.1, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) reserves the right to audit employers and ensure that they are compliant with the regulations. If the employer is not compliant with California law AB 1825, then the DFEH will issue a mandate ordering the employer to be compliant. If the employer is still non-compliant with the required training, then he or she will face punitive damages such as hefty non-compliance fines.
Luckily, there are accessible training options available, such as EasyLlama, that are compliant with AB 1825 and fulfill the California harassment training requirements
. EasyLlama provides an easy-to-use online training that is not only effective but also convenient when trying to provide employees with the required training. EasyLlama offers an engaging and interactive two-hour training that will certify employees of fulfilling the training requirements and successfully educate supervisors in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace
If you are interested in saving yourself the hassle of making and planning a training class, see how EasyLlama's CA sexual harassment training can help you.
What Counts As Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is defined by the California DFEH as unwanted sexual advances or verbal, physical, and visual harassment
of a sexual nature. This not only includes the cliché catcalling, but it also includes harassment based on gender identity, gender, and sexual orientation just to name a few. Along with the federal and state governments considering sexual harassment of any nature to be unlawful, the rise of harassment in the workplace has led to an increase in the importance of training regarding sexual harassment prevention and discrimination for employees.
What You Need To Know About California AB 1825 Requirements
Effective starting in 2005, the California Assembly Bill targeted employers who employ or regularly receive services from 50 or more persons. This includes 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. If the employer has 50 or more employees, then he or she must follow the regulations set by the state government.
What is the Assembly Bill?
AB 1825 specifically requires the applicable employers to provide sexual harassment training to their supervisory employees. Supervisors are classified as persons who oversee and manage the work of others. As per the California government code, a supervisory employee must receive elaborate training and education regarding workplace harassment within six months of assuming their supervisory position. Employers needed to provide this training to supervisory employees within one year of January 1, 2005. From January 1, 2006 and forward, supervisors must complete the training every two years after their last completion date.
Over the years, the existing law has received amendments in the form of additional bills. These changes include Assembly Bill 2053 (AB 2053), Senate Bill 396 (SB 396), and Senate Bill 1343 (SB 1343).
In 2014, California passed AB 2053 which made changes to Section 12950.1. According to the requirements for California AB 2053 Sexual Harassment training
, this included the prevention of abusive conduct into the training. This also defined abusive conduct as verbal abuse, derogatory marks, insults, and hostile or offensive verbal and physical conduct.
Added in 2017, the California SB 396 training requirements
focused on including gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation into the training. It also required employers to post a poster developed by the DFEH regarding transgender rights in a visible location.
In 2018, SB 1343 filed to change the conditions of AB 1825. It required employers who employ 5 or more employees to provide at least two hours of harassment training to supervisors and at least 1 hour of training to all non-supervisors by January 1, 2020.
AB 1825 Regulations: What Does the Training Must Have?
California AB 1825 requires that supervisory employees complete a training session about how to prevent and correct harassment or other forms of discrimination in a program lasting two hours. Employers must work with trainers who have complied with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requirements and AB 1825. Within the two hours, the supervisor must increase his or her knowledge and expertise on the prevention and correction of sexual harassment through effective interactive training. The sexual harassment prevention training must address the following:
- The legal definition of sexual harassment under California FEHA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Provide practical guidance regarding laws and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
- Include practical examples aimed at instructing employees on abusive conduct that is considered to be harassment in California.
- The supervisor's obligation to report abusive conduct and other forms of unlawful discrimination in the work environment.
- A detailed description of the reporting process to serve as remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment.
- Information and practical guidance on what supervisors should do if they are accused themselves.
- Training in the workplace to avoid harassment and discuss which strategies constitute an effective anti-sexual harassment policy.
It is very important that employers track the progress and compliance of their supervisors. This includes the names of the trainees, the method of interactive training, and the date of completion for the training so that the supervisor may fulfill the harassment training and education requirements every two years moving forward.
Responsibilities Supervisory Employees Have After Training
Within six months of assuming their title, supervisors must undergo sexual harassment training that they must complete every two years after; however, the journey doesn't end there. After completing the training, it is up to the supervisors to apply their knowledge for the prevention of harassment discrimination in their workplace. More actions taken by supervisors to protect their employees may include:
- Monitoring and maintaining a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.
- Reading and understanding up-to-date harassment policies.
- Responding appropriately to harassment incidents.
- Following correct procedures when investigating a harassment claim or incident.
- Not being accused of or participating in harassment cases.
- Ensuring employees read and understand the federal and state statutory.
- Assisting the employer with placing relevant posters with the sexual harassment policies in accessible locations.
AB 1825 is meant to establish a minimum threshold for what is required of an employer in the workspace. It is in the supervisors' best interest to take what they learn from the training and utilize it in an effective way to prevent unlawful discrimination in order to maintain and promote a safe work environment.
It's also worth noting that compliance with law AB 1825 is not a defense
to harassment claims. If allegations were to arise, receiving the proper training will not safeguard one from the claims. On the other hand, according to FEHA, if a supervisor failed to receive the required training, this does not automatically guarantee liability in a harassment case against them. Compliance does not protect employers and supervisors from the liability of past or current employees.
The Employer's Responsibilities in Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Along with conducting the required training, it is also the employer's responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for his or her employees. Promoting sexual harassment training is important, however, there are extra steps that can be taken to discourage or relieve harassment in the work environment:
- Schedule training time and ensure all managers and supervisors attend.
- Decide ways of conducting training (classroom or online training).
- Create and enforce a strict no-tolerance policy.
- Encourage managers, supervisors, and employees to read and understand the policies to increase their expertise in the prevention of harassment.
- Ensure the company has accessible reporting methods to correct harassment and discrimination.
- Update harassment policies so that they meet the standards set by the state of California.
- Guarantee that all employees have access to information by placing written forms of the policies in visible locations.
Employers should strive to develop more elaborate and frequent training in order to create and preserve a harassment-free work environment.
Punishments and Penalties For Not Complying
You may be able to guess, the process for noncompliance is scary. If an employer does not comply with the training regulations set forth by California law, the employer risks facing non-compliance fees. The DFEH reserves the right to audit an employer to monitor and ensure the employer is compliant with AB 1825. If the employer is not compliant with the training regulations, the DFEH will issue an order mandating the employer to be compliant. If the employer still fails to stick to the training requirements established by the legislation, then the DFEH will issue noncompliance fines (here's a hint, they aren't cheap).
Aside from non-compliance fines, there are other huge penalties that can have huge effects on employers. One major penalty can occur if there is a harassment incident in the workplace. Harassment, unfortunately, is very widespread in the work environment. If a harassment incident were to occur in the workplace, this can create a big problem for an employer. If an incident were to occur and the employer was not compliant with AB 1825, this would create a massive problem for an employer. Not only does this look very bad on the employer, but it can also cost him or her a lot of money.
If the employer fails to meet the standards set by the law, the victim of harassment may be entitled to a significantly larger compensation if the allegations were to reach a court of law. A plaintiff's attorney can claim that the employer showed a "reckless regard" for the law by not being compliant. However, an employer who does provide the appropriate sexual harassment prevention training can be viewed as more proactive in preventing these incidents.
Looking for a Solution?
As noted earlier, AB 1825 is fairly strict on what is required of the training, however, it is lenient in one area which is how the training is given to employees. AB 1825 allows employers to administer the test through several mediums, one of which can be through interactive online training. If you want to use a clunky, outdated course without tracking or real-time reporting, try the free online CA harassment training
provided by the government. EasyLlama is an online training platform that offers a comprehensive harassment training program. EasyLlama makes it easy for employers to administer the online training by providing:
- an interactive sexual harassment training through bite-sized web episodes
- the convenience of usability through different platforms such as mobile devices
- flexibility by allowing users to go at his or her own pace
- knowledge and comprehension checks from quizzes throughout the course
- user progress and completion tracking
Through EasyLlama, Employers are able to monitor their supervisors' harassment training while being reassured that their supervisors are receiving top-of-the-line training. Click here
to find out more information about how EasyLlama can save you time and effort