Sexual Harassment Training – California Training Requirements

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Sexual Harassment Training - California Training Requirements

S.B. 1343 requires that all employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to managerial employees once every two years. There is no requirement that the 5 employees or contractors work at the same location or that all work or reside in California. Under the DFEH’s regulations, the definition of “employee” includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

AB1825, which is part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, first became effective August 17, 2007. The legislation mandates state-wide sexual harassment training for any employee who performs supervisory functions within a company of 50 employees or more.

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Sexual Harassment Training Objectives and Content.

(1) The learning objectives of the training mandated by Government Code section 12950.1 shall be:

  • to assist California employers in changing or modifying workplace behaviors that create or contribute to “sexual harassment,” as that term is defined in California and federal law;
  • to provide trainees with information related to the negative effects of abusive conduct (as defined in Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2)) in the workplace; and
  • to develop, foster, and encourage a set of values in supervisory employees who complete mandated training that will assist them in preventing, effectively responding to incidents of sexual harassment, and implementing mechanisms to promptly address and correct wrongful behavior.

(2) Towards that end, the training mandated by Government Code section 12950.1 shall include, but is not limited to:

  • (A) A definition of unlawful sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to a definition of sexual harassment, an employer may provide a definition of and train about other forms of harassment covered by the FEHA, as specified at Government Code section 12940(j), and discuss how harassment of an employee can cover more than one basis.
  • (B) FEHA and Title VII statutory provisions and case law principles concerning the prohibition against and the prevention of unlawful sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in employment.
  • (C) The types of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment.
  • (D) Remedies available for sexual harassment victims in civil actions; potential employer/individual exposure/liability.
  • (E) Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • (F) Supervisors’ obligation to report sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of which they become aware.
  • (G) Practical examples, such as factual scenarios taken from case law, news and media accounts, hypotheticals based on workplace situations and other sources, which illustrate sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation using training modalities such as role plays, case studies and group discussions.
  • (H) The limited confidentiality of the complaint process.
  • (I) Resources for victims of unlawful sexual harassment, such as to whom they should report any alleged sexual harassment.
  • (J) In addition to discussing strategies to prevent harassment, the training should also cover the steps necessary to take appropriate remedial measures to correct harassing behavior, which includes an employer’s obligation to conduct an effective workplace investigation of a harassment complaint.
  • (K) Training on what to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment.
  • (L) The essential elements of an anti-harassment policy and how to utilize it if a harassment complaint is filed. Either the employer’s policy or a sample policy shall be provided to the supervisors. Regardless of whether the employer’s policy is used as part of the training, the employer shall give each supervisor a copy of its anti-harassment policy and require each supervisor to read and to acknowledge receipt of that policy.
  • (M) A review of the definition of “abusive conduct” as used in this context (and as defined by Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2)). The training should explain the negative effects that abusive conduct has on the victim of the conduct as well as others in the workplace. The discussion should also include information about the detrimental consequences of this conduct on employers – including a reduction in productivity and morale.

The training should specifically discuss the elements of “abusive conduct,” including conduct undertaken with malice that a reasonable person would find hostile or offensive and that is not related to an employer’s legitimate business interests (including performance standards). Examples of abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.

Finally, the training should emphasize that a single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless the act is especially severe or egregious. While there is not a specific amount of time or ratio of the training that needs to be dedicated to the prevention of abusive conduct, it should be covered in a meaningful manner.

For more on these Requirements please see: