Training Requirements for California Employers on on Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation and/or Bullying

California law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of unlawful harassment training to supervisors and provide ongoing prevention training every two years.  The first year was 2005.  As a compromise to the plaintiff’s bar, the legislature added bullying to the list of subjects in 2016, even though bullying is not against the law at this time. 

The amendments the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that became effective April 1, 2016 as to mandatory harassment supervisor prevention training for Larger Employers new requirements for harassment prevention training include:

  • training must address the negative effects of “abusive conduct,” with more specifics as to what the trainer must discuss regarding abusive conduct; no specific amount of time must be dedicated to addressing abusive conduct, as long as the topic is covered “in a meaningful manner.”
  • The trainer must instruct supervisors on the following new topics:
    • how to identify unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation;
    • their obligation to report harassing, discriminatory or retaliatory behavior of which they become aware;
    • remedies available for sexual harassment claims brought in court, including potential employer and individual exposure;
    • strategies to prevent harassment; and the steps necessary to take remedial action to correct harassing behavior (including conducting an effective investigation).
  • If prior training did not cover these additional topics, the employer must update training. 
  • The employer and the trainer are required to retain specific records of the training for at least two years.
  • Employers now must keep a copy of the training sign-in sheet, all certifications of attendance or completion issued, and the written or recorded materials of the training. If the employer provides training via webinar, it must keep a copy of the webinar, all written materials used by the trainer, all written questions submitted during the webinar, and all written responses or guidance the trainer provided during the webinar.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) must develop sexual violence and harassment prevention training by Jan. 1, 2019 for the janitorial employees. Until the training is developed, covered employers will have to start giving employees the sexual harassment prevention pamphlet from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) beginning July 1, 2018.

AB 1661 requires local government agency officials, including local elected officials, to receive requires local agency officials to receive two hours of training and education on sexual harassment prevention within the first six months of taking office or commencing employment. once every two years whenever those officials receive any type of compensation, salary or stipend. The requirements for this training differ from requirements under AB 1825 training.

For more information on training requirements for California employers, feel free to contact our office at (213) 341-4417.