UPDATED 11/10/20 10:10am PT:
In October of 2019, the deadline to complete sexual harassment compliance training for businesses in California (with five or more employees) was extended through 2020. Now, time’s up.
All California businesses must be in compliance with California’s “Clean-Up” Bill for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training when the clock strikes Midnight on New Year’s Eve. From January 1, 2021, your practice must be in compliance.
We’re going to tell you what you need to know to stay on top of California’s sexual harassment training requirements.
What Is This Again?
Senate Bill 778 (also called the “Clean-Up” Bill) is a law providing updated guidance regarding sexual harassment prevention training requirements in California and serves as an amendment to SB 1343. The new law extended the deadline for workforce compliance training from 1/1/2020 until 1/1/2021. SB 778 also clarified several ambiguities in SB 1343.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure your practice remains compliant.
Who Needs to Be Trained?
If you have five or more employees, you must provide them with sexual harassment prevention training by January 1, 2021. There are different training requirements for different groups of employees:
- Supervisory employees
- Non-Supervisory employees
- Temporary employees
- Temporary employees from a temporary employment agency
Supervisors. Because of their role, supervisory employees need more training. Any employee who supervises another must complete a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training and education. The Clean-Up Bill provided clarification about employees promoted to a supervisory role. They must complete two hours of training within six months of their promotion to that role.
Non-supervisory employees. They require one hour of training and education relating to sexual harassment prevention.
Temporary employees (defined as anyone hired to work for fewer than six months). Employers must provide one hour of California sexual harassment prevention training and education to these eimployees within 30 days after their hire date or within their first 100 hours worked.
Temporary employees from an agency. The employment agency is responsible for providing their training. You’re off the hook.
It’s worth pointing out that the one- and two-hour training requirements are the minimum requirements created by the law; “and should not discourage or relieve any employer from providing for longer, more frequent, or more elaborate training and education regarding workplace harassment or other forms of unlawful discrimination in order to meet its obligations to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct harassment and discrimination.”
How to Provide Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
While there is no flexibility in the requirement to train; you have options for how you provide the training. The training can be conducted in a traditional classroom setting, through e-learning, or even a webinar. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) offers free training courses via it’s website that satisfy the legal requirements.
You can schedule training for employees as a group or individually.
The training can be completed all at once or broken into shorter segments. For example, you could break training into 30-minute segments.
All training must be provided during paid work hours. You cannot use an employee’s personal time -- including their break time -- for this training. Employers are also liable for any expenses that may arise from the training.
You didn’t think you’d be able to only have to do this once, did you? Refresher training will be required for all employees.
SB 778 clarified some of the original bill’s requirements. When SB 1343 was released, supervisors that were trained in 2018 would need to be retrained on Sexual Harassment Prevention in 2019 to be in compliance with the 1/1/2020 deadline. The new law and deadline allow that supervisors who were trained in 2018 do not need to be retrained until 2020 to be compliant. Non-supervisory employees that received training in 2019 do not need to be retrained until 2021.
Refresher training is required once every two years for employees afterwards.
Employer Documentation Requirements
In addition to the training, California employers must also have a written harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy and provide each employee a copy. This can easily be accomplished by updating and distributing the employee handbook.
Read Best Practices for When You Revise Your Employee Handbook to ensure you do it right.
Employers must also post any and all required notices from DFEH. Finally, you’ll need to provide each of your employees, at the time of hiring, a sexual harassment information sheet.
Sexual Harassment Training Recordkeeping Requirements
To go along with training, you must keep documentation of the training you provided to your employees. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to show proof of compliance with California sexual harassment prevention training requirements:
- Names of the employees trained
- The date the employee received training
- The sign-in sheet
- A copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued
- The type of training conducted
- A copy of all written or recorded materials that comprise the training
- And the name of who led the training
You must retain these records for a minimum of two years from the date of training.
Don’t Delay: Start Your Plan to Comply With the Law Today
Handling all of this and running your practice is a lot. However, it is mandatory and not terribly complicated. Here’s the bottom line of what do you need to do to be in compliance with the new law:
- Schedule training for all employees.
- Update your employee handbook as well as all relevant policies and procedures to include a written harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy that reflects the current law.
- Post all required notices from DFEH.
- Keep accurate records from all iterations of training.
If you haven’t completed training your employees yet, you do still have plenty of time. Take a breath, Then get started meeting the requirements for California sexual harassment prevention training. After all, you DID have an extra year. Stop procrastinating and get started today.
Did you know that we at HR for Health monitor all the specific laws and regulations that affect your practice? If you have questions about compliance issues, please reach out to us. Schedule a call, call (877) 779-4747, or email email@example.com now to learn more.
HR for Health is one of the nation’s leading Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) used by small to mid-sized practices.
Quick note: This is not to be taken as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance. Learn about HR for Health's HR services