With so much going on for employers in 2020, let us not forget the #MeToo movement and related changes in California’s laws requiring sexual harassment prevention training. All employers with more than five employees anywhere must train all California employees (managers/supervisors and staff) on sexual harassment prevention training before year end.
A while back, I posted that the DFEH had a new online tool for employees, and suggested the California employers make it part of their new hire orientation. The DFEH has now also posted a new online tool for managers and supervisors. Yes, both are free! And available in six languages. And yes, all of your California employees must be trained. And yes, you must pay for the time it takes your employees to watch the videos. And yes, you must keep records of that training (because you must be able to prove compliance).
While there is no great substitute for in-person training, or training tailored to the particular issues in your workforce even if provided online (and our firm provides excellent training), a free training is much better than nothing. So if costs are an issue this year, please make sure you at least do the bare minimum, and ensure that all employees (from your most senior management to your part-time or temporary hourly workers) are trained before year end. Or take it up a notch, and have everyone watch the videos and also have an outside trainer or HR professional lead a discussion session afterwards.
Take it from me, if your business gets sued for harassment, the first piece of evidence you are going to be asked for is proof that the alleged harasser(s) and victim(s) attended your mandatory training. Hopefully, you won’t have to scramble to figure that out, or explain why the alleged harasser is the one person who missing the training. Trust me, that is not a helpful fact in the defense of harassment claims.