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Is Harassment Training Mandatory in California?

Harassment & Discrimination

Is Harassment Training Mandatory in California?

Workplace harassment is a sad situation in which employees suffer mistreatment, bullying, and discrimination by their superiors or coworkers. Offensive behavior, accompanied by severe actions that create a hostile work environment, constitute harassment. The harassment is often based on race, sex, and gender, religion, nationality, physical and mental disability.

Workplace harassment undermines the productivity of a company by compromising the individual facing discrimination. It is the employer's duty to provide a cohesive and pleasant workplace where the employees feel safe and respected. They can do this by developing policies and strategies for training their employees. But then, you might wonder, is harassment training mandatory in California?

In the US, federal law doesn't require companies to conduct sexual harassment training. But, many state laws, including California under the SB 778 mandate, require employers to perform some harassment training.

The California Fair Employment and Housing act are tasked with ensuring that all employers comply with this.

If you need help meeting the California deadline for sexual harassment training, try EasyLlama's California sexual harassment training today. Our interactive videos and quizzes can get your entire team compliant almost at the push of a button.

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The California Fair Employment and Housing Act

The #Metoo movement prompted many jurisdictions to enact laws to require sexual harassment prevention training or revised existing laws to expand training coverage. California state has mandated anti-harassment training for supervisors in organizations that have 50 and above employees. A 2018 legislation (SB-1343) has broadened the scope of California harassment education requirements.

It now requires the instruction of all employees in businesses with at least five workers. Under this law, employers must:

  • Provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and managers and one hour to other employees at least once every two years.
  • Train new hires and those promoted to supervisory roles within six months.

The law also includes rules for training temporary or seasonal employees. For these employees, who are usually on the job for less than six months, the company must provide training within 100 working hours or 30 calendar days. If a staffing agency employs an employee, then the agency is responsible for the anti-harassment training.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in California make it illegal to harass an employee on the basis of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental disability, color, national origin, or ancestry. The FEHA applies to public and private employers, labor organizations, apprentice training programs, employment agencies, and licensing boards.

This Act makes the employers liable if they are aware of harassment by a supervisor or coworkers towards each other and do not take any action to protect the employees. The individual instigator of the harassment is not exempt from punishment and is also liable for their harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

With this requirement, employers have turned to online platforms to deliver training for all kinds of harassment to their employees. There are also free California harassment training available online.

Ultimate Guide To State And Local Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

Download the guide outlining all the state and local laws around sexual harassment prevention training requirements.

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The essentials of harassment training

One way to spark change in an organization is to talk to the team about workplace harassment, what it is and how you can eliminate it together. To make sure that employees are always aware of this, FEHA urges employers to:

Train employees regularly

Regular( at least once in 2 years) and interactive training is an essential step for effectively addressing, preventing harassment, and avoiding a hostile work environment in California. This keeps the employees aware and up to date with changes in policies, procedures, and regulations.

Ensure all employees participate in the training

Along with New York state and city, California has passed anti-harassment stronger laws sparked by the #Metoo campaign. These laws such as SB 396 of California expand the sexual harassment training requirements to all employees, including seasonal and temporary workers and part-time employees.

Training should contain relevant and interactive content

Practical training should use examples, terminologies, images, and scenarios relevant to the employer's industry and workforce. The training is made even more meaningful and engaging if the training platform incorporates interactive videos and microlearning. These videos immerse the employees into realistic situations, and they can be used to create emotional connections that positively influence behavior.

Promote respect, civility, and diversity

Good anti-harassment training should shift focus away from avoiding legal liabilities and focus more on promoting a safe and respectful workplace and encourage positive behavior.

The suggestion of sexual harassment training will have more impact if it comes from an influential leader such as the CEO. This sets the right tone for the course, showing that the company takes the issue seriously and that it is not just another corporate training drill.

Clearly communicate that complaints are taken seriously

Anti-harassment training should provide the opportunity for the employer to explain the complaint and reporting process clearly. Employers should take the opportunity provided by the training exercise to communicate and reinforce their anti-harassment policies clearly. In the same breath, the supervisor's and managers' training should also explain the responsibilities and procedures for appropriately addressing harassment complaints.

Harassment training, in general, must continue to evolve for it to be relevant and effective. A holistic approach to sexual harassment training that emphasizes the roles that both supervisors and the workers should play to create a positive and respective workplace should be employed.

The benefits of using an e-learning platform for harassment training

Workplace harassment has serious legal consequences for any organization. E-learning platforms provide a convenient way for organizations to effectively train their employees to maintain a pleasant work environment with mutual respect for everyone. Digital harassment training is beneficial to employers because:

Creates a safe workplace

Most e-learning platforms utilize scenarios and story-based learning to allow employees to gain awareness and understand the various forms of harassment. They also give solutions to issues that they may face and a way to address them respectively and effectively.

Improves compliance levels

E-learning training platforms create a responsible work environment by giving employees a clear picture of what constitutes harassment and acceptable behavior in the workplace.

Saves money

Digital harassment training helps employers reduce expenses related to logistics, trainers, and classrooms.

Avoid legal issues

Legal issues arising due to non-compliance are avoided as the employees are constantly engaged in the learning process.


It makes good business sense for employers to provide harassment training to their employees and avoid a myriad of problems arising from non-compliance. This keeps the employees safe and prevents dangerous liabilities in the business. A sexual harassment compliance training company is the best solution for educating employees. Its training courses are designed for any number of employees with engaging scenarios that make it easy for them to learn and grasp the concept.


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