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Deadline for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Looming

A date for the diary of business owners and managers in California: 31st December 2013. California anti-harassment laws require that all employers of 50 people or more hold anti-sexual harassment training and education for all employees in supervisory roles every two years. The end of this year will be the end of a two year cycle in which qualifying employers must hold training.

What should the training focus on?

The training must cover the following elements of both federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment:

  • The prohibition against sexual harassment
  • How to prevent it from happening
  • What steps to take if it does happen
  • The remedies available to victims

The training should specifically include practical examples to better teach the applicable laws and procedures and the employer must ensure that the training is provided by a presenter with experience in the prevention of harassment. It should run for a minimum of two hours.

What are the consequences for failing to run a training program?

If a qualifying employer fails to organize a training program before the end of the current cycle, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) can seek a court order to force the employer to comply. The mere fact that a specific employee did not attend or was not provided with the required training does not automatically make the employer liable if a sexual harassment complaint is brought against the employer. On the other hand, merely running the course does not insulate an employer from sexual harassment liability.

What are the training obligations of employers exempt from this law?

Employers that employ between five and 50 employees or contract workers are exempt from running a training course, but are required to display the anti-harassment and discrimination poster provided by DFEH in a prominent location in the workplace. In addition, they must distribute information sheets to each employee concerning sexual harassment laws, as provided by DFEH.

If your employer fails to comply with their anti-harassment obligations and you have suffered as a result, arrange a consultation with a supportive Southern California employment rights attorney.

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