California Harassment Training Deadline Extended

California has passed an emergency bill to extend the deadline for the first round of sexual harassment training by one year. Previously, employers with five or more employees were required to provide interactive sexual harassment prevention training to all employees in California by January 1, 2020; the deadline is now January 1, 2021.

The substantive requirements remain the same. Employers must provide:

  • At least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees
  • At least one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees
  • “Refresher training” every two years thereafter
  • The applicable training within six months of hire for new employees or within six months of entering a supervisory position

Employers who provide training that complies with the law in 2019 do not need to do so again until two years have passed from the date of training. For instance, if you trained all employees on July 14, 2019 (good work!), you would have until July 14, 2021, to retrain those same employees. However, if you hire new employees or promote any existing employees to supervisory positions, they need to receive the applicable training by January 1, 2021.

A Catch: Seasonal and Temporary Employees

The training timeline was not changed for seasonal and temporary employees. Beginning January 1, 2020, employers must provide training for seasonal and temporary employees, as well as any employee who is hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days of hire or within their first 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temporary services employers are responsible for training their employees.

Why is there a different timeline for seasonal and temporary employees? Think of it this way: California wants everyone who holds a job in 2020 to be trained by Jan 1, 2021. To achieve that, the state needs to maintain the previous training timeline for seasonal and temporary employees; otherwise, someone who works only in the summer, or between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, may not receive training by the deadline.