As the #MeToo Movement placed a glaring spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills aimed at curbing sexual harassment last year, including SB 1343.

SB 1343 amended the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Government Code sections 12950 and 12950.1, to:

  • Expand California’s supervisor training requirement to any employer with 5 or more employees.
  • Require one hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-supervisory employees.
  • Require, beginning on January 1, 2020, sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for temporary and seasonal employees, or any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. If a temporary employee is employed by a temporary services agency to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.

Earlier this year, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) issued an FAQ interpreting California’s new training requirements. The FAQ provides:

  • Employers must provide all supervisory and non-supervisory employees the required sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training by January 1, 2020. Employers must retrain employees who received training in or before 2018.
  • After January 1, 2020, employers must retrain all employees every two years. All employees must therefore be retrained by January 1, 2022.
  • Employers must pay for the cost of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training. Employers must compensate employees for their time attending such training.
  • The DFEH will provide online training courses through the DFEH’s website, which employers may use instead of hiring a trainer. The DFEH expects to have training courses available by late 2019.

Impact on Employers

California employers should review their sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training practices to ensure they satisfy California’s training requirements, including the requirement to provide at least two hours of training to all supervisory employees and one hour of training to all non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2020 and every two years thereafter. Employers should also ensure that the training is interactive and includes information and practical guidance regarding federal and state prohibitions against sexual harassment and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. The training must be conducted by trainers with knowledge and expertise in the area of sexual harassment and harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.