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Changes to Anti-Harassment Training:  Businesses Must Train All of their Workers


Until this year, California required employers with 50 or more employees to deliver at least two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees every two years.  By January 1, 2020, employers with five or more workers shall deliver at least two hours of “classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees in California within six months” of hiring.  The training should include discussions on preventing “abusive conduct.”  It should also train on how to eliminate harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.  The training should be practical and focus on preventing sexual harassment, correcting or changing workplace procedures and discussing the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.  The state looks at these as the minimum requirements, and expressed that employers may wish to provide “[l]onger, more frequent, or more elaborate training and education regarding workplace harassment or other forms of unlawful discrimination.”  The Legislature required the “Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop or obtain 1-hour and 2-hour online training courses on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace . . . and to post the courses on the Department’s Internet Web site.”  Encouraged, but not required, is bystander intervention training, including “information and practical guidance on how to enable bystanders to recognize potentially problematic behaviors and to motivate bystanders to take action when they observe problematic behaviors.” 


Employers may wish to ensure their anti-harassment policy is current.  They may also wish to consider required anti-harassment training “a gift,” by using it to invite dialogue and to help create and preserve a sound, respectful workplace culture.  Our lawyers are qualified and available to provide in person anti-harassment training in English and Spanish.  We also conduct several anti-harassment webinars throughout the year in which your employees may participate to comply with the new law’s requirements.  Please visit our website or contact us for more information.  

Please contact Phillip Maltin for further information about these changes to California law.