Harassment Training Deadline Extended, Clarified

Some California employers now have until January 1, 2021 to train employees on sexual harassment prevention—a one-year extension of the original January 1, 2020 deadline.

The deadline was not extended for employers of seasonal and temporary employees, who are hired to work for less than six months. Starting January 1, 2020, these employees must be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

Employer Training Deadlines

Under the new law, SB 778, all employees—supervisory and nonsupervisory—must be trained by January 1, 2021.

Below is a quick breakdown for employers who’ve trained employees this year or in previous years.

Year you last trained

Next required training
year
Explanation
2019 2021 SB 778 clarifies that employers who train their employees in 2019 aren’t required to provide refresher training until two years from the time the employee was trained.
2018 2020 SB 778 allows those employers who trained employees in 2018 to maintain their two-year cycle and still comply with the new January 1, 2021, deadline.
2017 2019

Employers who trained supervisors in 2017 under prior law, known as AB 1825, should still train those employees this year in order to maintain their two-year cycle.

Background

Last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1343, requiring all employers with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees—supervisors must receive two hours of training and nonsupervisory employees must receive one hour. Training must take place within six months of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter.

Shortly after SB 1343’s passage, many questions arose about how to coordinate the newly imposed training requirements with trainings provided earlier. As previously reported, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) took the position that in order to comply with the January 1, 2020, deadline, employers who trained their employees in 2018 would need to train them again in 2019, resulting in those employees being trained twice within a two-year period.

Listening to employers’ concerns about this law’s unintended consequence, on August 30, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 778—emergency “clean-up” legislation that took effect immediately, extending the sexual harassment prevention training deadline under SB 1343 from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021.

Employers who trained their employees in 2018 can now maintain their two-year cycle and provide subsequent training in 2020 while still complying with the deadline. SB 778 also clarifies that employers who train their employees in 2019 aren’t required to provide refresher training until two years from the time the employee was trained.

The bill, however, does not affect the portion of the law addressing seasonal and temporary workers.

CalChamber Resources

The California Chamber of Commerce makes it easy to effectively train employees and fulfill compliance obligations. Learners can take their individual, self-paced training in English or Spanish when it best fits their schedules. The CalChamber has both a 2-hour Supervisor version and a 1-hour Employee version.

Also available is an updated free Required Harassment Prevention Training FAQs white paper, which answers many employers’ questions about complying with the new training requirements.

Staff Contact: Bianca N. Saad