In October 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislature concerning California’s sexual harassment prevention training requirements. The bill, SB 1343, addresses the decrease in workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. The law requires Californian employers with at least five employees to provide both supervisory workers and non-supervisory employees with sexual harassment prevention training and education by 1 January 2020.
Employers with at least 50 employees have been required to train and educate their workers in the prevention of sexual harassment in supervisory positions in California since 2005. Senate Bill 1343 reduces the number of workers to five and removes the provision of non-supervisors.
SB 1343 requires covered companies to deliver at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training and education to all managerial employees and at least one hour of such training to all non-managerial employees in California, by January 1, 2020. Training and education must be done once every two years after that, as specified under the new law.
Here’s what HR and compliance professionals need to know about SB 1343.
Given the expansive nature of SB 1343, it is likely that your business will need to take several measures over the next year to meet its many requirements.
Before the 2021 deadline, the company will need to plan and provide instruction on sexual harassment and discrimination to your employees. You can use online training courses from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or use an alternative program as long as it covers the required topics.
The SB 1343 learning curriculum for those seeking to create their learning in sexual harassment and discrimination, or to buy current SB 1343 training content includes all instructional material to educate learners about:
SB 1343 instruction must also provide practical examples of these key concepts: sexual orientation abuse, gender expression and gender identity, bullying, aggression, and abusive behavior.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act defines abusive conduct like this:
“Abusive conduct” means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.
SB 1343 training requirements indicate that employee education may take place as online or live training — the latter can be delivered to employees individually or in groups. Also, those delivering training sessions must have “knowledge and expertise” in the prevention of abuse, sexism, retaliation, and harassment. Trainers will need to provide discrimination experience based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity, among certain criteria, set out in state regulation.
Note also that there is no need to complete sexual harassment courses and discrimination training in a single session. Several sessions will meet the hourly SB 1343 training requirements, as long as they add up to two hours for supervisors or one hour for non-supervisory staff.
Both managers and non-management staff members have to receive training by the first mandated deadline, January 1, 2021. Both employee groups need to be trained within six months of their start dates, or dates of promotion to supervisor.
As of 1 January 2020, seasonal or temporary workers are required to receive non-supervisory training within the first 30 days or 100 completed hours of work— whichever comes first. The law also explicitly mentions that in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers must be educated as of 1 January 2020. If temporary employees are employed by an agency, the training must be provided by that agency.
Remember that the five-employee requirement of the law is not limited to 2full-time employees, as it includes organizations who receive services under a contract “regularly,” or those who serve directly or indirectly as the employer’s “agent.”
To date, in California workplaces, SB 1343 represents a much more aggressive approach to combating sexual harassment than AB 1825.
Although instruction in sexual harassment and discrimination alone is not a silver bullet, when combined with transparency and clear policies and procedures, organizations across the state will make a dent in the occurrence of these adverse events.
Coggno has an extensive list of sexual harassment prevention courses.