September 6, 2019
In light of the Me Too movement, California has passed dozens of bills imposing strict regulations combating sexual harassment in the workplace. This year lawmakers in California passed two updates to existing mandatory sexual harassment training laws. One of these laws involves a mandate requiring California businesses (with 5 or more employees) to provide sexual harassment training to all employees by January 1, 2020. Here are some facts about this mandate, and what is at stake for employees.
Senate Bill 1343
The January 2020 mandated harassment training Mandate is called Senate Bill 1343. The bill expands sexual harassment training and education requirements for all California businesses with 5 or more employees. Harassment training must be at least 2 hours for managers and supervisors, and at least 1 hour for non-supervisory employees. As an employer, you need to provide training within six months of hiring an employee, and retraining every two years after that. Employees who didn’t complete the mandatory harassment training by January 1, 2019, must do so by the new date of January 1, 2020.
Harassment Training Requirements
This new bill has dramatically shifted the latest requirements for sexual harassment training, which have been in place for over 10 years. Now, part-time and temporary employees and independent contractors count toward the minimum number of employees necessary (5 or more) to trigger coverage for harassment training mandated for January 2020. There are other key changes to Senate Bill 1343.
Additionally, January 2020 mandated sexual harassment training in CA can be completed individually or in groups, handed out in short segments, and be given in conjunction with other training requirements. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or DFEH, will create and supply training courses for supervisors and non-supervisors. You can also develop your own training programs for your employees or use programs made by experienced providers.
There is also a new requirement for temporary and seasonal employees. Starting in January 2020, all seasonal and temporary employees, along with any employees you hired to work for six months or less, must be given sexual harassment training at your company. The harassment training, mandated by January 2020, must be provided within 30 days of being hired or upon 100 hours of completed work. The temporary service employer, though, must provide sexual harassment training to temporary employees they hired out to your business.
What Is at Risk?
Senate Bill (SB) 1343 was designed to broaden sexual harassment training throughout organizations in California. According to recent studies, businesses whose main focus is hospitality, like restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, have a high number of sexual harassment cases. There are several reasons for this. One is that people employed in hospitality environments often work alone, in isolated areas, making inappropriate behavior by staff and guests easier to get away with. Another reason is that, in hospitality jobs, the golden rule states that the “customer is always right.” This causes workers to speak up much less, if at all, about harassing behavior from guests because they are afraid they will lose their job.
SB 1343 was created to protect employees in all types of work environments from continued sexual harassment. The bill offers employees and supervisors a clearer path for resolving harassment issues in the workplace. If not for the passing of this bill, and other federal, state, and local mandates, employees and supervisors working of businesses of almost all sizes, including hospitality, would not have the knowledge or training to handle sexual harassment issues, nor the courage to report such claims.
If you want to know more about sexual harassment training laws, contact the professionals at Impact Compliance Training. To find out more about California’s sexual harassment laws, visit https://impactcompliancetraining.com/resources/california/.