Mandatory Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Not Extended
California employers must comply with training requirements by no later than January 1, 2021.
With the legislative session coming to an end and the Governor either signing or vetoing finalized legislation this month, it is surprising to some that no extension was provided to California businesses regarding mandatory sexual harassment training. Rather, the present deadline of January 1, 2021 remains in place. Luckily, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing has some resources available for any procrastinating businesses.
In 2018, California enacted AB 1343 mandating employers with five or more employees to provide harassment prevention training to all supervisory and non-supervisory personnel by no later than January 1, 2020. Employers subject to California’s mandatory training requirement must provide one hour of interactive harassment training to non-supervisors and two hours of such training to supervisors every two years, with the training covering a multitude of related subjects.
While the original deadline for the completion of the training was January 1, 2020, on August 30, 2019, the California statehouse issued SB 778 extending the deadline to January 1, 2021 and clarifying that employers who provided compliant harassment training in 2019 were not required to provide follow-up training for another two years.
Given the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 and the resulting stay-at-home and quarantine orders issued by a variety of state and local authorities, many California employers have understandably found it difficult to offer interactive training this year. And many assumed that the present deadline would either be extended before the end of the year or an announcement would be made that the mandate would not be enforced. As a result, there was a growing belief that the January 1, 2021 compliance deadline was a nothing burger.
However, despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in California and elsewhere, there have been no moves vis-a-vis the present deadline. That means no legislation initiated by either houses of the California legislature or sought by Governor Newsom’s office, and no announcement from the DFEH regarding enforcement. Therefore, the January 1, 2021 compliance deadline remains in effect.
So, employers who have not met their training requirements have approximately 100 days to do so.
Free Training Available through DFEH
Luckily, DFEH has come through and provided online tools for employers that will meet the requirements. Specifically, it provides free online training courses on preventing sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace that satisfy California’s legal training requirements pursuant to Gov’t Code 12950.1 - for both supervisors/managers and all employees.
The supervisory training finally became available on September 10, 2020. The non-supervisor training has been available since May 21, 2020.
The trainings are accessible on a computer or mobile device. The trainings are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog, as well as closed captioning with alt-text of all images and icons.
Below are links to english versions of the two trainings:
Alternatively, employers are free to hire competent trainers to provide the training as well. That would include experienced employment law attorneys. Cough, cough.