Deadline for Sexual Harassment Training Is Fast Approaching

January 2010Newsletters California UPDATE Employment Law

By January 1, 2010, California employers with 50 or more employees may be required to provide at least two hours of “interactive” sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees in California. This training must be provided at least once every two years. Newly hired or promoted supervisors must be trained within six months of assuming their supervisory position.

The requirement is mandated by California Government Code § 12950.1. Given that the first training deadline imposed by the law was January 1, 2006, for many employers, the next training deadline is January 1, 2010.

Remember, California employers are subject to the training requirement if they employ 50 or more employees (including temporary service employees and independent contractors) for each working day in any 20 consecutive weeks of the year. All of these employees or contractors do not have to work at the same location or work or reside in California. Employers are required to provide training to supervisory employees who supervise California employees.

While there are no automatic penalties for violating the training requirements, employers are exposed to more claims and lawsuits—and greater liability—when untrained supervisors do not properly address issues of sexual harassment in the workplace or are later accused of sexual harassment themselves.