February 9, 2020
If you’re an employer striving to meet your state’s requirements for sexual harassment prevention training, one provision of the law may give you pause: What exactly does “interactive” compliance training mean? To help you parse this legalese and meet employer requirements, we defined “interactive,” highlighted the specifics of each state, and provided a source for training that will meet your specific needs.
What Does Interactive Mean For Your Business?
In the simplest of terms, interactive means that there is a two-way flow of information, or that questions can be asked and answered. For this reason, business owners and organizational leaders should be looking for training that does more than require participants to passively watch a video or read a brochure.
A variety of states, including California, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Maine, and Delaware have their own definition of “interactive” and have developed state-specific employer requirements. To save you time, we’ve highlighted the essentials:
California’s SB 1343 says employers with five or more employees must conduct sexual harassment prevention programs once every two years through a qualifying harassment compliance training program. The law states that the training must include “practical guidance” concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment.
Additionally, it must outline remedies available to victims of workplace sexual harassment. California law further stipulates that the training should provide practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation should also be a part of the training.
SB 1343 defines interactive as “E-learning training must provide instructions on how to contact a trainer who can answer questions within two business days.”
Illinois’ Workplace Transparency Act, also known as SB 0075, requires every business in Illinois to have a sexual harassment policy provided to all employees. Every employer with employees working in Illinois must provide an annual sexual harassment prevention training program that equals or exceeds the minimum standards.
While “interactive” training is not required under Illinois SB 0075, it is considered to be the most effective strategy for providing sexual harassment prevention curriculum.
New York State
New York recently strengthened its New York State Human Rights Law to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. All New York State employers, regardless of size, must provide annual training for every employee.
According to the mandate, the designated sexual harassment prevention training must be interactive, include remedies available to victims, inform of federal, state, and local laws, provide definitions of harassment and examples, state employees’ rights of redress, and provide information addressing conduct and any additional responsibilities by supervisors.
New York’s law has three interactive components to meet the requirements:
- Web-based training must have questions at the end of each section that the employee must answer correctly before proceeding.
- The program must permit employees the ability to submit a question online and receive an answer immediately or in a timely manner.
- There must be a survey at the end of the course where employees can submit feedback. If the training is live, the presenter shall either ask the employees questions or allow time throughout the presentation for participant questions.
New York City
New York City’s “Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act,” defines “interactive training” as “participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in a trainer-trainee interaction, use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program, or other participatory forms of training as determined by the commission.” However, live or facilitator-led, in-person training is not required.
Connecticut’s Public Acts 19-16 and 19-93 together constitute the state’s Time’s Up Act. It requires employers with three or more employees to provide two hours of training and education on workplace sexual harassment every ten years The training must include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment as well as remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
The Time’s Up Act also specifies that the training must be interactive. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities defines “interactive” as “a format that allows participants to ask questions and receive answers.” For example, the training could include a live question and answer session at the end, or it could provide a way for participants to submit questions and receive answers after the training within a reasonable time period.
Maine was the first state to implement a sexual harassment prevention training mandate with Maine Title 26, S807. Employers in Maine with 15 or more employees are required to provide annual training within one year of hiring a new employee.
However, Maine doesn’t have an explicit interactive training requirement.
Delaware’s HB 360 requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position. This course must address the illegality and definition of sexual harassment, and it must be interactive.
Delaware does not define interactive, except to say it must be “effective.” However, most industry professionals agree that “interactive” involves some degree of participant interaction as a requisite for effective training.
Comply with State Law And Foster a Productive Work Environment
Finally, it may be beneficial to point out that harassment training can boost both morale and your bottom line. Your company culture is only as healthy as the relationships between your employees. If everyone feels safe and valued, they will be able to concentrate on your business and productive work.
Preventing workforce harassment is infinitely more cost-effective than defending your company in a lawsuit. Impact Compliance Training offers a full suite of comprehensive and engaging courses that help keep organizations up to date and compliant with state law training requirements.
If you are a business owner or a human resources professional, you have enough on your plate without worrying about meeting your state’s specific mandates. Let us help by providing you with a program that meets your company’s precise needs and state requirements.
Contact Impact Compliance Training to learn about our online and in-person sexual harassment prevention training courses. We offer training options for employees without computer or email access as well. Visit our contact page to request a free course trial.
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