Who is Eligible to Teach the New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Requirement?

In 2018, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires California employers to provide expanded training on sexual harassment prevention to all their personnel by January 1, 2020. Employers of 5 or more employees will have to complete the mandatory 1 or 2 hour training for employees by the end of 2019 to be compliant by the given deadline.

The new law represents a dramatic shift from requirements that have been in place for more than ten years, and it was concluded that millions of employees across the state might not be aware of their responsibilities and rights under California anti-harassment laws or trained on how to recognize and report inappropriate behaviors.

Who Does This Affect?

Along with the new law, there are new sexual harassment prevention training requirements that impact the majority of businesses in California.

  • Businesses with five or more employees must provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training to their managerial employees and at least 1 hour of training to all other employees.
  • Newly launched businesses with 5 or more employees (including independent, temporary, and part-time contractors).
  • Employees hired after January 1, 2020, who received training by their previous employer will only be required to read and acknowledge receipt of their new employer’s anti-harassment policy within six months of taking the new job position.

Who is Eligible to Teach the New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Requirement?

Trainers eligible to teach the new mandatory requirement shall be one of the following.

  1. Harassment prevention consultants or HR professionals working as independent contractors or employees with a minimum of 2 or more years of practical experience in:
  • Conducting investigations of sexual harassment complaints.
  • Responding to sexual harassment or any other discrimination complaints.
  • Conducting or designing discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention training.
  • Advising employees and employers regarding retaliation, discrimination, and sexual harassment prevention.
  1. Attorneys admitted for 2 or more years to the bar of any U.S. state and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and/or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  2. Instructors or professors in universities, colleges, and law schools who have a California teaching credential or post-graduate degree. They also need either 20 instruction hours 2 or more years of experience in a university, college, or law school teaching about employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and/or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Individuals who don’t meet the qualification of a trainer as an HR professional, harassment prevention consultant, attorney, instructor, or professor because they lack the required years of experience may teach with a qualified trainer in webinar or classroom training. The qualified trainer must supervise these individuals and be available to training attendees throughout the training to answer questions.

All trainers must be competent to teach about topics such as:

  • Reporting complaints of harassment.
  • Responding to complaints of harassment.
  • Identifying unlawful harassment, discriminatory, and retaliatory behavior under both the federal and FEHA law.
  • Steps to address harassment in the workplace.
  • Identifying retaliation and how to avoid it.
  • Reporting obligation of supervisors when aware of retaliation, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Effect of harassment on the harasser, victims, employers, and co-workers.
  • Essential components of a policy against harassment.
  • Employer’s obligation to conduct an investigation.

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