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2020 CA DFEH Sexual Harassment Training Law Effects


It's 2020. It's a new year and a new decade all at once, and it's safe to say that things have changed a lot in the last ten years. The workplace is more innovative, more inclusive, and more diverse. We are living in an age where stereotypes are being challenged, glass ceilings are being shattered, and the rules are changing. One of the most significant changes to the California workplace, regardless of industry, is the focus on creating a safe and comfortable workplace for everyone. More specifically, creating spaces that have zero-tolerance policies for sexual harassment.

New anti-harassment laws went into full effect on January 1st, 2020, and California employers and employees need to be educated on the new rules and regulations to ensure everyone is safe and compliant. Here is a breakdown for everything you need to know about staying compliant with anti-harassment training in California:

What is it?

Senate Bill 778 exclusively requires employers that have more than five employees to provide comprehensive sexual harassment training by January 1st, 2021, and repeat the training every two years. This training will include "at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees, and at least one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all non-supervisory employees."

What does it involve?

When you know better, you do better. This is why it is so vital for Californians to be educated about the ins and outs of harassment. This includes how to identify it, how to avoid it, and how to report it. Some of the things the new bill requires of employers include:

  • Training that dives deep into defining harassment "based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation." The training must include practical examples of this type of harassment and must be presented by trainers or educators that have extensive knowledge and experience teaching these things.

  • Training and education that covers relevant information and "practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment" This required workplace training must also cover "the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment."

  • Part of this training will be geared towards upper management and supervisors. This training will include practical examples for the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

  • Once completed, the department will receive a certificate of completion, which they can save electronically and print.

Who is affected?

If you are working in California, there is a good chance these new training laws apply to you. If you are an employer and have full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff, you are required to provide this anti-harassment training and education. According to the bill:

"Beginning January 1st, 2020, for seasonal, temporary, or other employees that are hired to work for less than six months, an employer shall provide training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first."

Non-supervisory employees are required to participate in this training within six months of their hire date. Employees that are promoted to supervisory positions are required to participate in the training six months after they've assumed their new supervisory position.

How to get started

As a busy business leader, adding this necessary training to your list of things to do may feel overwhelming. However, it is required for your business to remain in compliance with the DFEH. If you're not sure how to schedule or set up this type of anti-harassment training in your workplace, consider outsourcing this task to an Orange County staffing agency. Most local staffing agencies can provide this education and training during the onboarding process, making it one less thing you have to worry about when hiring a new employee.

Head into this new decade with the knowledge and resources you need to not only stay compliant with federal anti-harassment regulations but also to create a safe and comfortable workplace for your employees.

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