California Employers Have Another Year To Comply With New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

Last year, new California legislation effective January 1, 2019 expanded the mandatory sexual harassment prevention training requirements for California employees.  That law required that, by January 1, 2020, employers with 5 or more employees must provide their supervisory employees with two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education AND must provide their non-supervisory employees with one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education.  This training must be provided within 6 months of hire, within 6 months of assumption of a supervisory role, and every two years going forward.  In addition, even if these employees had already been trained in 2018, the Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) announced that the new law requires these employees to be retrained during calendar year 2019.

California employers raised concerns about these requirements – and the legislature responded. On August 30, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed emergency legislation (SB 778) which is effective immediately.  SB 778 extends the training deadline for training supervisory and non-supervisory employees from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021.

The bill also specifies that an employee who has received this training and education in 2019 is not required to be retrained again until two years from the date of their last training.

This means that employers who trained their regular* employees in 2018 do not need to provide refresher training again until 2020.  Employers who retrained or trained their regular employees in 2019 do not need to provide refresher training until 2021.

*Note: the emergency legislation does not change the law regarding seasonal and temporary workers. Beginning January 1, 2020, seasonal and temporary employees who are hired to work for less than six months, must be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

The Training Division of the Labor & Employment Department offers the training and education required by this law.  Please feel free to contact any member of our Labor and Employment team, or our department assistant, Ramona Carrillo to discuss and schedule a training program that meets the specific needs of your workplace.