San Diego Employers: Deadline to Comply With Anti-Harassment Training Requirements Pushed Back to January 2021

In 2018, the California State Assembly passed Senate Bill 1343 that mandated sexual harassment prevention training for non-supervisory employees and also increased the amount of training required for supervisory employees. See Cal. Gov. Code, §12950.1. The law also reduced the threshold of employers who were required to give mandatory anti-harassment training to their workers. The old law only applied to employers with 50 or more employers; that was reduced to a mere five employees. The law specifically targeted transient workers, seasonal farm workers, and workers working less than six months. This bill was one of many passed across the country including strong legislation passed in New York, Illinois, and other states.

Under the new law, supervisory employees would be required to have two hours of anti-harassment training (up from one hour) every year and non-supervisory employees would be required to undergo a one-hour prevention training class/video.

However, since it was passed last summer, the training requirements have caused confusion. Aside from requiring the training, SB 1343 also mandated certain requirements with respect to the content of the training including the following:

  • The training be interactive
  • Provide “practical guidance” and “practical examples”
  • Inform workers about prevention and “remedies available to victims of sexual harassment”
  • Be given presented by trainers or educators with “knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation”

To date, no guidelines have been issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”), the state agency tasked with enforcement and issuing regulations. In particular, employers and educators were unclear as to the timing of the training, whether certain workers had to be given new training, what constituted “practice guidance”, and who could be classified as “trainers or educators” under the statute. There was also concern that the training imposed significant burdens on smaller employers, many of whom had not begun preparations for the new requirements.

As such, there was a successful legislative push to delay the effective date of the Act. A delay was recently passed, and, on August 30, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 778. See news report here. The bill pushes back the deadline from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021 for San Diego and California employers to begin anti-harassment trainings for their employees. Note that the law requires training to be given within six months of an employee’s first day at work and the training must be done every two years. The statute gives some flexibility as to how the training is conducted. It can be done “in-house” or via online videos (as long as the videos are interactive). The training can also be done as a group or as individual training and the training can be broken up into segments (as long as the mandatory minimum length is reached). An experienced San Diego corporate attorney can provide advice and counsel with respect to employee-related compliance requirements here in the Golden State.

Call San Diego Corporate Law Today

For more information, call corporate attorney Michael Leonard, Esq., of San Diego Corporate Law. Mr. Leonard’s law practice is focused on business, transactional, and corporate matters and he proudly provides legal services to business owners in San Diego and the surrounding communities. Call Mr. Leonard at (858) 483-9200 or contact him via email. Like us on Facebook.

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