California’s New Harassment Training Requirements

California employers: please update your compliance obligations checklist for January 1, 2020, because there is new and more mandated harassment prevention training in store for your employees. As you may know, two hours of harassment prevention training for supervisors has been required for several years if you are an employer with 50 or more employees. The requirements of the training have changed over the years, including last year’s regulatory update that mandated discussion of LGBT and sexual orientation issues.

Now, smaller employers must also comply with the harassment prevention training mandate. The number of employees required to trigger the mandate has been lowered from fifty (50) to just five (5) employees. Supervisors must still be trained within six months of hire, and every two years thereafter, and must undergo a two-hour training program. Non-supervisory employees must now be trained within the same time frames, and must attend a one-hour program.

Temporary or seasonal employees who will work for an employer for less than six months must be trained within 30 days or within the first 100 hours worked, whichever comes sooner. If a temporary employee provides services through a temporary work firm, that firm is responsible for meeting the training requirement, not the employer to whom the employee is placed.

For employers who provide the training after January 1, 2019, there is no new training requirement commencing January 1, 2020. In other words, employers may get a head start on meeting the 2020 compliance obligations by training their employees starting January 1, 2019.

Employers Council currently offers a discounted online, on-demand program that meets the two-hour supervisor training mandate. In addition, commencing January 1, 2019, Employers Council will offer a new one-hour program for non-supervisory employees to facilitate members becoming compliant by January 1, 2020. For more information on these programs, please contact the California legal services group through the undersigned author at