In 2018, California passed numerous pieces of legislation in response to the #MeToo movement that expanded the obligations of employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training. SB 1343 is one such piece of legislation that went into effect this year and requires that all California employers with five or more employees provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees, and at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all nonsupervisory employees. The new law set January 1, 2020 as the deadline for California employers to meet these new training obligations, with a requirement that employees receive additional training every two years thereafter.
With just a few months until the January 1, 2020 deadline, many of the employers who put off scheduling the necessary training began to feel nervous that they would not be able to meet their new obligations. If you are one of the employers who waited until the last minute, fear not, we have some good news.
On August 30, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 778 which extended the deadline for employers to meet most of the new training obligations for another year until January 1, 2021. The extended deadline means that employers with more than five employees have another year to come into compliance with their obligations to provide training to supervisory and nonsupervisory employees. SB 778 also clarified that a covered employer who already provided training to an employee is not required to provide additional training to the same employee until two years after the prior training.
So employers are in the clear for another year? Well, not exactly.
Since 2004, California has required employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees. The recent enactment of SB 778 has no impact on these previous training requirements for larger employers. The new legislation also has no impact on new requirements impacting seasonal and temporary employees. As of January 1, 2020, seasonal and temporary employees who are hired to work less than six months must receive sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first.
Finally, employers need to remember that they are always obligated to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment in the workplace. In addition to maintaining compliant anti-harassment policies and procedures, one of the key things that employers can do to meet their obligations is to provide regular sexual harassment prevention training.
So while employers may breathe a little easier with some additional time to meet certain training obligations, they should plan ahead and schedule harassment prevention training as soon as possible. Fox Rothschild has a team of employment attorneys in Southern California and Northern California who provide interactive (and dare I say, enjoyable) training that will help employers meet their obligations under California law. Contact one of our highly-qualified attorneys to discuss how Fox Rothschild may be able to meet your training needs.