September 24, 2020
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 make sexual harassment illegal in the workplace. Since 2019, California law requires all employers of five or more employees to provide sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers once every two years.
Senate Bill 1343
Under Senate Bill 1343, which passed in 2018 (and which has been codified at Government Code section 12950 and 12950.1), all California employers who employ five or more employees must provide a minimum of two (2) hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees.
Senate Bill 778
Under Senate Bill 778, which passed in 2019 (and which has been codified at Government Code section 12950.1), employers are required to provide the training to all employees no later than January 1, 2021. This training must be provided within six months of an employee assuming a supervisory position, even if the supervisor had previously received training as a nonsupervisory employee.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing defines a supervisor as someone “with authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees,” and state: “A supervisor is also anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment.”
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing requires the training to include the following categories:
– The Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII definition for sexual harassment;
– Statutes and case law prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
– Types of conduct which may be sexual harassment;
– Remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
– Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
– Supervisors’ obligations to report sexual harassment;
– Practical examples of harassment;
– Resources for victims of sexual harassment;
– How employers must correct harassing behavior;
– What to do if a supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
– The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
– “Abusive conduct” as defined in Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2);
– Discussion of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, which shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
– Questions which assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.
If An Employer Does Not Provide Training
If an employer fails to provide the training as required by law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission can issue an order directing the employer to comply.
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This article is based on the law as of the date posted at the top of the article. This article does not constitute the provision of legal advice, and does not by itself create an attorney-client relationship with Eskridge Law.