As you should already be aware, any employer with five or more workers is required to conduct sexual harassment prevention training for their staff by the end of 2019 under a California law passed in 2018.
Due to concerns that many employers in the state may not be ready to comply, Gov. Gavin Newsom has now signed a bill into law that extends the compliance deadline for some employers.
Under the new law, SB 778, all employees, both supervisory and non-supervisory, must be trained by Jan. 1, 2021, which extends the deadline by a year.
The original law, SB 1343, required all employers with five or more staff to conduct sexual harassment prevention training to their employees before Jan. 1, 2020 – and every two years after that.
Prior to the law that took effect in 2018, employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide only supervisors with anti-sexual harassment training every two years.
Here are the new rules:
- If you trained your staff in 2019, you aren’t required to provide refresher training until two years from the time the employee was trained.
- If you trained your employees in 2018, you can maintain the two-year cycle and still comply with the new January 1, 2021 deadline. For example, if you trained your staff in November 2018, you would not have to train them again until November 2020.
- If you trained supervisors in 2017 under prior law, known as AB 1825, you should train those employees this year in order to maintain your two-year cycle.
The deadline was not extended for employers of seasonal and temporary employees, who are hired to work for less than six months. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, these employees must be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.
The rest of the law remains intact:
- Supervisors must receive two hours of training and non-supervisory employees must receive one hour.
- Training must take place within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter.
The reason the new law has been enacted is that employers who trained their employees in 2018 would need to train them again in 2019, resulting in those individuals being trained twice within a two-year period, which went against the spirit of the law.
SB 778 was essentially clean-up legislation to correct that problem by extending the training deadline under SB 1343 from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2021 for those employers.