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8 Things CA Employers Need to Know About Sexual Harassment Training

by Simple Learning System | March 5, 2024

8 Things CA Employers Need to Know About Sexual Harassment Training

8 Things CA Employers Need to Know About Sexual Harassment Training

by Simple Learning System | March 5, 2024

California law requires employers to provide training regarding the prevention of sexual harassment and abusive conduct to employees. Despite greater awareness of the harms of harassment in the workplace, many employees still experience it in some form.

For employers, sexual harassment can hurt a company. Research shows that 80% of sexually harassed women leave their professions within two years. Absenteeism, reduced performance, high turnover, and legal costs are all costs of harassment in the workplace.

As an employer, sexual harassment prevention training can help create a more respectful environment, reduce harassment-related costs, and help keep your most talented employees from leaving because of a toxic culture. An official training program also ensures you’re meeting the legal requirements set by CA Senate Bill 1343 (SB 1343).

Here are eight things California employers need to know about workplace anti-harassment training.

What is Sexual Harassment Training?

Sexual harassment training helps employees create a safe and respectful workplace culture by understanding different types of workplace harassment and how to prevent it. An effective sexual harassment training program will help employees learn how to identify various forms of harassment, understand their legal protections, and the most effective ways to respond to harassment in the workplace. 

Start Training Your Supervisors and Non-Supervisory employees with sexual harassment training by SIMPLE.

Do All CA Employers Have to Provide Sexual Harassment Training? 

As of 2021, any employer with five or more employees or contractors is required to provide sexual harassment training. This also includes your seasonal or temporary employees. Even if your employees or contractors live or work in locations outside of California, they are still required to take anti-harassment training.

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

The anti-harassment training you provide to your employees must meet certain requirements

Key points: sexual harassment training should include

  • Federal and state laws prohibiting sexual harassment and non-sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Practical examples to instruct supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace
  • Course materials pertaining to the prevention of abusive conduct
  • Course materials pertaining to the illegality and prevention of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
  • Practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Did you know?

90% of individuals who say they have experienced harassment never take formal action against the harassment, such as filing a charge or a complaint. 

Sexual Harassment Training Examples

Your sexual harassment training program can take several different forms, so you can create a program that works best for your employees. Here are four examples of effective ways to deploy harassment prevention training: 

Online Training (E-learning)

An individualized, interactive, online e-learning training program can meet the state’s training requirements while making it easy to deliver to employees across multiple locations. 

Online training programs can help organizations cut training costs compared to in-person classroom-style training programs. With an online training program, you don’t have to pay for materials, instructor fees, training facilities, travel costs, and other costs associated with in-person training.

Online training programs have been found to be as effective as face-to-face instructor-led training programs.

With an online training program, your employees can also train on an individual basis when they need it. For example, you can immediately train a new hire or easily ask an established employee to meet their re-training requirements without disturbing an entire department.

In-Person Training

In-person instructor-led classroom training can be another example of an effective training program. For some organizations, deploying an in-person training solution to a group of employees makes more sense than individually training employees one at a time. 

According to the legislation, effective classroom training includes content created by a qualified trainer and provided to employees in a setting removed from the employee’s daily duties.

In-person training provides an environment where learners can ask questions from qualified instructors as they learn, which may offer an advantage over web-based, non-facilitated training programs.

In-person training should occur regularly to meet the requirements for training new hires and the re-training requirements for existing employees. A training event that takes place every six months should be sufficient to meet the timing requirements unless your organization does not hire new employees regularly.

Webinar Training

Webinar training is also an example of an approved method for delivering sexual harassment training. Webinar training is typically like an event-based online seminar and is transmitted in real-time. It differs from online e-learning training, which is usually a self-directed training course.

A webinar training event can help you gather a group of employees together for an online training event, which can be a good solution if you have employees in various locations or a mix of remote and in-person employees.

CA legislative has specific requirements for webinar-type training events, stating that employers must document and demonstrate that each employee who was not physically present in the same room as the trainer actually attended the entire training and actively participated in the training’s interactive content, discussion questions, hypothetical scenarios, polls, quizzes or tests, and activities. Attendees must also have the opportunity to ask questions and seek guidance from the qualified trainer, just like in a classroom-style in-person training environment.

You are required to maintain a copy of the webinar, written materials used by the trainer, and written questions and responses submitted to the trainer during the webinar for up to two years after the event.

Hybrid Training Model

One final example of a sexual harassment training program is a hybrid training model combining in-person and online training elements. 

Your organization may benefit from regular “training days” to ensure all your new hires and existing employees are trained on time. Instead of hiring a trainer to come in once every six months, you could gather the employees together in a training room and give them a few hours to complete an online training program under the supervision of a human resources officer who can answer any questions that arise during the training session.

How to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training

Regardless of how you deploy a harassment-prevention training program to your employees, your program of choice must be interactive and engaging.

Instruction should include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities, assessments of the employee’s understanding and application of the materials, and hypothetical scenarios with discussion questions to keep employees engaged in the training. Pre- or post-training quizzes or tests, small group discussions, and other learning activities that keep employees engaged and interacting are key. 

Avoid e-learning programs that provide continuous play video instruction in which an employee could press “start” and then wander off for an hour or two and not engage with the content in any meaningful way.

How Long Should Sexual Harassment Training Be?

California legislation dictates how long harassment prevention training should take. Unfortunately, you can’t dedicate 15 minutes to training and then get your employees back to work. In order to cover all of the information you’re required to provide, your training will have to meet the following standards for length:

For supervisory employees, sexual harassment training must take a minimum of two hours.

For non-supervisory employees, sexual harassment training must take a minimum of one hour.

Why do supervisory employees need a longer training course? 

Supervisors are often named as the harasser when a charge or complaint is filed.

Women file a disproportionate number of harassment charges—more than 78% of sexual harassment charges and 62% of non-sexual harassment charges.

72% of these women were harassed by someone more senior in their careers, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI). That includes managers and supervisors.

Supervisor training can include information on how to properly handle a report of harassment from one of their employees to ensure the correct steps are taken after a complaint is made. Training can also teach supervisors as well as what steps to take (and what to avoid) if they themselves are accused of harassment.

How Often is Sexual Harassment Training Required?

In California, employers are required to provide sexual harassment training within six months of their hiring date, whether they have supervisory or non-supervisory positions.

For seasonal and temporary employees, sexual harassment training must be provided within 30 calendar days of their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first.

  • If you hire an employee with the understanding that they will work less than six months, train them within their first 30 days of hire date or 100 hours worked.
  • If you hire an employee with the understanding they will work longer than six months, train them within six months of their hire date.

How Often Do Employees Need to Take Sexual Harassment Training?

Harassment prevention training must be retaken by all employees (supervisory and non-supervisory) every two years.

California legislation requires that employers provide a method for employees to electronically save and print a certificate of completion whenever they complete sexual harassment training.

Can Sexual Harassment Training be Deployed With Other Training?

You can provide harassment prevention training along with any other new hire training, industry or profession-specific training, or industry training that you provide to your employees. 

Knowing that you have to provide sexual harassment training every two years also provides an opportunity to add multiple courses to your internal training program, ensuring your employees get the training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.

For more information on workplace training, get in touch with us at SIMPLE. We provide online Sexual Harassment Training courses, Mandated Reporter Training courses, and custom solutions to ensure your organization deploys training simply and easily.

This post was written in 2024. The information it contains is based on California state legislation effective 2024. The information is subject to legislative changes.

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