Harassment Prevention Training Deadlines Extended!

Last week, California employers got the Back-to-School gift of an extension (to train some employees) and some clarity about when employees need to be re-trained.

Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 778.  The bill delays some of the mandatory anti-harassment training deadlines, and clarifies the retraining requirements for certain employees who already received training in 2018 or 2019.

Starting this past January, California law (specifically, SB 1343), extended the requirement that employers provide supervisory employees with two hours of anti-harassment training to businesses with five or more employees, including temporary or seasonal workers. Before SB 1343, the training requirement was only for employers with 50 or more employees. The law also expanded the training requirement—which had applied only to supervisory employees—to include one hour of training every two years for all non-supervisory employees for covered employers. The initial deadline for providing new training to those employees not previously covered under prior state law was January 1, 2020. Now, with the passage of SB 778, the deadline for training non-supervisory employees has been extended to January 1, 2021.

Last year’s law also created confusion about the time cycle for when supervisors had to be retrained.  The law had said that supervisors who had been trained in 2018 had to be retrained by January 1, 2020.  But SB 778 fixes that issue.  Under SB 778 employees who are or were trained in 2019 do not need to be retrained until two years have passed, sometime in 2021, and then every two years thereafter.

This bill was passed with an urgency clause, so it becomes effective last week. This new law is good news – smaller companies have more time to implement a program and supervisors trained recently don’t have to participate again so soon.

As before, the trainings can be done individually or as part of a group, and may be completed in shorter segments adding up to the total time requirement. The DFEH is required to develop sample one- and two-hour online training courses on the prevention of sexual harassment for non-supervisory and supervisory personnel, respectively. Alternatively, employers may create their own anti-harassment training modules as long as they meet the compliance requirements.

Finally . . . my firm does these trainings!  Feel free to give us a call or email us – we do lively one- and two-hour presentations that are “as enjoyable as they can be.”


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