Be Aware of Mandatory Training Obligations

Let’s face it, keeping up with the ever-changing, wildly dynamic landscape of employment law is difficult. It feels as if every year, month and sometimes day, there is a new deadline to meet or a new set of laws to implement. This is especially true in the area of required training, and more specifically in the area of harassment prevention. States and localities across the country have instituted mandatory harassment training requirements and more are on the way.

For multi-state employers, managing these requirements can be overwhelming. For example, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, and Illinois all have individual training requirements for employees and/or supervisors. Many require “refreshers” over time with Illinois requiring every employee, every year to receive harassment training. In New York State, not only must all existing employees have already received training to be in compliance with the new law, but any new employees must also be trained “as soon as possible” after hire.

Human Resource personnel must now provide rolling trainings throughout the year rather than meeting an annual requirement. Even in states where training is not mandatory, many, including Wisconsin, Washington, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Ohio, have released specific guidance encouraging employers to provide training as a means of lessening or avoiding liability in the event of a claim of harassment. In the same vein, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing federal laws on discrimination, lists training as one of its top five core principles of sexual harassment prevention.

With less than 90 days left until the end of the year, we encourage members to reach out to their Employers Council representative regarding training requirements that may be looming out of sight. There is still time to take advantage of our public training classes, online training center webinars, or have one of our trainers deliver this important content live in person or via the web.