Sexual Harassment Training - California Training Requirements
This Sexual Harassment Compliance Training course teaches you how to recognize and understand sexual harassment so that you can help to maintain a happy work environment, free from hostility and discomfort.
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.
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.
- 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.
Our engaging, interactive, California Sexual Harassment Compliance Training course combines relevant videos, scenarios, and quizzes that your employees will be able to identify with and apply to their roles.
What Is Harassment?
Video: Definition of harassment. Examples of real-life stories that illustrate the impact of harassment.
Interactive Screen: What harassment includes and when harassment becomes actionable.
Scenario: Jokes based on an individual’s nationality.
Key Learning: Even if someone doesn’t intend any harm, if the target of the jokes is hurt by the jokes and this is happening on a regular basis, this could create a hostile work environment.
Scenario: Risqué emails that sometimes contain jokes on religion and sexuality.
Key Learning: Jokes that offend some colleagues could contribute to an offensive, hostile work environment.
Scenario: Friendly conversation offering dating advice.
Key Learning: Intent and perception are key to determining if a statement could be considered harassment.
Interactive Screen: Definition of sexual harassment. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature – could include offensive remarks about a person’s sex.
Interactive Screen: What constitutes sexual harassment? Verbal harassment, nonverbal (visual) harassment, physical harassment, teasing and offhand comments.
Interactive Screen: Does it have to be sexual? Who’s impacted? What does the law say? What is a hostile environment? What is quid pro quo? Are there specific laws to protect transgender people?
Scenario: A drunken proposal while at a work conference.
Key Learning: Just because an employee is not at work, they may not engage in inappropriate conduct that would otherwise be impermissible in the workplace itself.
Scenario: Spreading rumors about a colleague’s sexuality.
Key Learning: Offensive comments about a person’s sexuality are harassment, even if the victim doesn’t hear.
Scenario: Personal history interfering in a promotion decision.
Key Learning: Must have solid reasons for reaching a hiring decision.
Scenario: Same-sex harassment – one colleague sending another flirty emails and sticky notes.
Key Learning: Conduct constitutes harassment because the conduct is unwelcome and it has unreasonably interfered with his colleague’s work.
Scenario: Inappropriate physical touching.
Key Learning: Conduct may be considered harassment if it is unwelcomed and it makes the victim uncomfortable.
Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Harassment
Video: Define gender identity. Discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender is discrimination because of sex.
Scenario: Hiring a new team member who is in a same-sex relationship.
Key Learning: You cannot treat individuals differently because of their sexual orientation or preference.
Scenario: Whispers about gender reassignment.
Key Learning: When someone at work goes through a gender transition, it’s important to have in-person sexual harassment training with the employee’s managers and the colleagues who work directly with the transitioning employee.
Impacts of Harassment & Discrimination
Interactive Screen: Outline the impact that harassment has on the victim, the workforce, the company brand and reputation, productivity and profitability, and on management.
Scenario: Overhearing two colleagues mocking another colleague about religious dress.
Key Learning: In some cases, the perpetrators of inappropriate behavior don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong. If you feel comfortable, speak to the perpetrators and ask them to stop.
Scenario: Mocking over religious dress continues.
Key Learning: When the perpetrator doesn’t change their behavior, it’s best to report the incident before the situation escalates.
Scenario: Wider impact that discrimination has in the workplace.
Key Learning: Discrimination may cause a colleague to become withdrawn and less engaged in the workplace. This could have an adverse effect on the workforce, as it may make other colleagues uncomfortable and could cause a divide in working teams and groups.
Laws, Protected Groups & Types of Harassment
Interactive Screen: Federal discrimination laws. Who’s protected? What’s included?
Interactive Screen: State laws. Examples: California, New York, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey.
Interactive Learning: What do we mean by protected groups? Examples of protected groups. Types of discrimination.
Interactive Screen: Types of harassment. Quid pro quo. Hostile work environment.
Interactive Screen: Affirmative defense – under federal law, an employer can avoid liability for discrimination if it can show three things.
Scenario: Drafting a job advertisement without discriminating against any protected groups.
Key Learning: Discriminatory conduct is prohibited in all aspects of the employment process, including recruitment.
Scenario: Candidate for an interview is in a wheelchair.
Key Learning: Unless it causes an employer undue hardship, refusing to accommodate an applicant or employee with a disability is discrimination.
Scenario: Consequences of rejecting a candidate because they might become pregnant.
Key Learning: Pregnancy is a class that is protected under both federal and state law. Marital status is a class that is protected under certain state anti-discrimination laws.
(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.
As an employee, you are responsible for meeting the requirements for sexual harassment training in California. This means providing the right training to the right people, at the right time, and making sure every employee completes the training and demonstrates understanding of the rules and regulations that apply to them.
Training should be interactive, with a focus on behavior change and real-life scenarios. Do more than tick the box! Let your employees explore the difficult situations that can arise in the modern workplace, and teach them to make value-based judgements that uphold your policies around ethics and compliance. Make sure you capture their engagement and ensure they’ve understood the core content.
Ensure you are profiling your employee base and providing a tailored learning experience based on a person’s role. Some content will apply to all employees, but (for example) managers may need content that individual contributors do not, and workers in a factory environment may experience different compliance risk situations to workers in an office. Remember, nothing kills learner engagement faster that being asked to take content that is irrelevant to your role.
As you can see in the requirements above, California laws on sexual harassment training stipulate the frequency and duration of training required. Create a program that delivers training to your workforce as part of a thoughtful campaign, delivering just enough content, just often enough, to keep the topic fresh in the employee’s mind, and meet the legal requirements.
In addition, take this excellent opportunity to strengthen the culture of compliance and ethical behavior within your organization. There are several behaviors that can be considered sexual harassment including physical and verbal activities. It is important that employees understand each of these types of behaviors and can recognize the situations where they might arise. By providing a targeted, relevant and thoughtful learning experience to your workforce, you help create an environment in which everyone can recognize what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace.
Smart companies create ethics-based training programs that ensure business practices that will protect the brand. Our Sexual Harassment Compliance Training course teaches you how to recognize and understand sexual harassment, so that you can help to maintain a happy work environment, free from hostility and discomfort. The engaging, interactive course for California combines relevant videos, scenarios, and quizzes that your employees will be able to identify with and apply to their roles.
Ultimately, good compliance training doesn’t just mean your employees are ticking an “I have read the policy” box. It means that they understand the correct behaviors and values expected of them, and are actively working to adhere to them, and not just within the confines of the office. They recognize that they are representing the company at all times and are upholding the values and standards of the organization both privately and publicly.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: https://www.ct.gov/chro/lib/chro/e-learning_informal_opinion.pdf
- Regulations for Sexual Harassment Posting & Training Requirements: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/uitax/SexualHarass.pdf
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