How to Meet California’s Sexual Harassment Training Requirements for Dentists, Optometrists, and Veterinarians
In October of 2019, the deadline to complete sexual harassment compliance training for dental, optometry, and veterinary practices in California (with five or more employees) was extended through 2020. Now, time’s up.
All California businesses and healthcare practices 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 dental, optometry, or veterinary 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 employees 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 to employees in your dental, optometry, or veterinary practice. 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.
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 at least two years from the training date.
Don’t Delay: Start Your Plan to Comply With the Law Today
Handling all of this and running your dental, optometry, or veterinary 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, don't worry! You still have plenty of time to ensure that your dental, optometry, or veterinary practice is in compliance with the new California sexual harassment prevention training requirements. Take a deep breath and get started today to meet the necessary training deadlines.
Remember, you had an extra year to prepare for this, so don't procrastinate any longer. The sooner you start, the sooner you can ensure that your employees are well-informed and educated on sexual harassment prevention. By providing them with the necessary training, you are not only meeting legal requirements but also creating a safe and respectful workplace for everyone.
It's understandable that running your practice and managing all the necessary requirements can be overwhelming. However, complying with the law is mandatory and not terribly complicated. So, let's break it down into actionable steps:
- Schedule training for all employees: Whether you choose a traditional classroom setting, e-learning, or webinars, make sure to provide the required hours of training for each group of employees - supervisory, non-supervisory, temporary, and temporary employees from an agency.
- Update your employee handbook and policies: Include a written harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy that reflects the current law. This will ensure that all employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities within the workplace.
- Post required notices: Display any and all required notices from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in a visible and accessible location. This will help inform employees about their rights and resources.
- Keep accurate records: Document all aspects of the training you provide, including the names of employees trained, training dates, sign-in sheets, certificates of attendance or completion, training materials, and the name of the trainer. Retain these records for at least two years from the training date to demonstrate proof of compliance.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your practice is fully compliant with the law and that your employees are equipped with the knowledge and awareness necessary to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Remember, it's not just about meeting the minimum requirements set by the law; it's about creating a culture of respect and inclusivity.
About HR for Health
At HR for Health, we understand the challenges that dental, optometry, and veterinary practices face in managing their HR responsibilities. That's why we offer an all-in-one HR software solution designed specifically for these industries. Our platform provides the tools and resources you need to streamline HR processes, including payroll, timekeeping, and compliance management.
Whether you're a small business or a large group practice, HR for Health has the solution to fit your needs and budget. Don't hesitate to reach out to our HR for Health account representative today to learn more about how our software can support your practice. Together, we can ensure that your practice remains compliant and focuses on providing excellent patient care.