​​California Governor Gavin Newsom on Aug. 30 signed into law a bill that extends the deadline for small businesses (five or more employees) to conduct harassment prevention training for both supervisory and non-supervisory personnel. In short, the new law establishes a Jan. 1, 2021, deadline to conduct such training (extending by one year the deadline imposed by the prior law which: (1) lowered the employee threshold from 50 to five employees, and (2) imposed a training obligation for all personnel (not merely supervisors)).

Companies with 5+ Employees

As a result, all employers with five or more employees now have until Jan. 1, 2021, to conduct one hour of harassment prevention training for non-supervisory personnel. In addition, small employers (between five and 49 employees) have until Jan. 1, 2021, to conduct two hours of training for their supervisory personnel. The new law also confirms that if employees have already conducted the requisite training in 2019, they are not required to repeat the training until two (2) years thereafter.

Companies with 50+ Employees

The new law does not change supervisor training deadlines for larger employers (50+ employees), i.e. they have been and continue to be required to conduct harassment prevention training every two (2) years for supervisory personnel. For example, if a California business with 75 employees last conducted harassment prevention training for its supervisors in July 2018, they are required to renew such training no later than July 2020.

Lastly, the new law clarifies/confirms that newly hired non-supervisory personnel, and newly hired or newly elevated supervisors, must be trained within six (6) months of commencing employment or elevating to supervisor status. For example, if a California business with 15 employees hires, or elevates to supervisor status, an employee on Feb. 1, 2021, they must conduct appropriate (one or two hours depending on supervisor status) training for that individual by Aug. 1, 2021.

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