After postponing the expansion of anti-harassment training, California, which typically leads the way when it comes to implementing employment laws, will now join the ranks of states requiring anti-harassment laws for most employees. Effective January 1st, 2021, both California and Washington will be implementing new additions to current sexual harassment training requirements, almost two years after New York implemented similar measures. While sexual harassment training is now a requirement for multiple states, it has always been a smart way to ensure all workplace safety and comfort. When done correctly, these trainings can strengthen workplace culture, encourage reporting, and increase awareness of acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Read about these recent amendments and similar mandates other states have adopted.
By January 2021, training must be provided to supervisory AND non-supervisory employees within six months of employment or moving into a supervisory position. Previously, only businesses with 50 or more employees had to provide training. Now the mandate requires training for employers with five or more employees. Training is mandated within 30 calendar days of hire or within 100 hours worked (whichever occurs first) for temporary employees.
- Supervisors must receive two hours of training, and nonsupervisory employees receive one hour of training.
- An interactive method (such as a webinar or e-learning) is allowed.
- Employers may develop their own training modules or use the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s online training course.
- A trainer with relevant experience must conduct Employer-created training.
- Temporary employees employed by a temporary services provider must be trained by the temporary services provider, not the end client.
Training is mandatory for employers with three or more employees. Employers with fewer than three employees are only required to train supervisors. New supervisors must receive training within six months of taking a supervisory position. Training must be two hours in a classroom-like setting and allow time for questions. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities developed online training, but employers can build their own curriculum.
- Employers must provide periodic supplemental training, not less than every ten years.
- The state recommends that training records be maintained at least one year, and if a complaint is filed involving someone, the employer is trained until that complaint is resolved.
Training is mandated for employers with 50 or more employees. Employers are not required to provide training to applicants, independent contractors, or employees employed for less than 6 months continuously. Training must be interactive, and it is recommended that employers retain documentation, according to Young Conaway’s Employment Law Department. There is no minimum length of training, retention of records, or trainer requirements at this time.
Employers with 1 or more employees must provide annual training for all employees. Employers are not required to train independent contractors; however, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) strongly advises that independent contractors receive training if they work on-site at an employer's workplace or interact with the employer's staff. The IDHR offers a free model training program. While employers may use their own program, it must meet or exceed the model program’s minimum standards.
Furthermore, all restaurant and bar employers, regardless of the number of employees and classification, must provide supplemental training material that addresses sexual harassment issues seen frequently in their industry, includes an explanation of manager liability and responsibility under the law. There is no requirement for training format, trainers, or retention of records.
Training is mandated for employers with 15 or more employees. All employees must receive training within one year of hire, and supervisory employees must receive additional specialized supervisor training within one year of taking on a supervisory role. There are no requirements for format, trainers, or how often an employee must take the training. Employers must keep records for a minimum of three years.
Employers must provide training to every employee who works any portion of time in the state of New York, regardless of:
- Immigration status.
- Part-time, seasonal, or temporary status.
Additionally, employers in New York City must provide training to:
- Interns who work 80 or more hours in a calendar year AND at least 90 days.
- Independent contractors who have performed work for the employer for more than 80 hours in a calendar year and more than 90 days and have not received the training elsewhere.
New York employers must use the model sexual harassment prevention training program provided by the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York Department of Labor or establish a program that equals or exceeds the program’s minimum standards.
The training can be in person or online but must be interactive. Employees cannot merely watch a video or read a document without a component of feedback or interaction.
Washington State requires employers in specific industries to provide sexual harassment training. The types of businesses and workers covered under this law include hotels, motels, retail, security guard entities, and property service contractors. Bill 5258 requires the training and new policies to be in place with all employers who fit these categories by January 1, 2021. Hotels with 60 or more rooms were previously required to have training prior to January 1, 2020.
*Please Note: Training laws are updated frequently and this summary may not include all requirements for any particular jurisdiction. It is important that employers contact their counsel for additional information and ensure they provide training that complies with all applicable laws.*