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The Me Too Movement and the rash of public cases involving celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Charlie Rose are shining an even brighter spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace. State legislatures across the U.S. are responding accordingly to the demand to provide more protection for employees.

California Harassment Law 2019 Update

sexual harrassment

California is one example of a state that is tightening its requirements regarding sexual harassment training for employees. Previously, employers with 50 or more workers that operate in California were required to provide sexual harassment education and training for supervisory personnel.

The enactment of a new law has lowered the number to five employees and encompasses non-supervisory employees as well. Organizations must provide this training by the beginning of January 2020.

What Are the 2019 California Harassment Training Requirements?

Under the updated law, employers must provide a minimum of two hours of training to supervisors and a minimum of one hour of training to non-supervisory workers within six months of assuming either a supervisory or non-supervisory position. The training must occur biennially.

Temporary or seasonal employees must receive training within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within the first 100 hours of their employment if they’ll be working for less than six months.

Employers that have provided training after January 1, 2019, do not have to comply with the January 1, 2020 deadline.

Overview of the New California Harassment Policy Requirements

sexual harassment in the work place

All training should begin with a review of what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. According to California regulations, any of the following actions meet the definition of sexual harassment:

  • Visual conduct such as leering or displaying sexually suggestive pictures
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted physical touching
  • Offering work-related benefits in exchange for sexual favors
  • Retaliating or threatening to do so after the rejection of a sexual advance

Training should also cover the consequences for engaging in harassing behaviors, as well as the potential liability issues.

How to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training


Employers in California have several options for conducting sexual harassment training.

One method consists of group training involving role-playing activities. Employees act out typical harassment scenarios to enable workers to recognize unacceptable behavior and learn how to respond appropriately. Quizzes and questionnaires are also useful for assessing employees’ knowledge and understanding of sexual harassment and identifying individual training opportunities.

For many employers, online training provides the best solution. Online courses enable employees to take the training whenever it fits into their busy schedule, which minimizes unproductive downtime. They can progress at their own pace without the pressure of a group or classroom setting. Given the sensitive subject matter, online training can also better fit the comfort level of many employees who would prefer not discussing these situations openly.

View Our Online California Harassment Training Course Offering

If you want to offer California harassment training online, Hazmat School offers an affordable, informative course that will meet your organization’s compliance requirements. Click here for more details or to register today.

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