California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) has long required employers to take any reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct sexual harassment. The FEHA is unusual because, unlike most other federal and state laws, it applies to all businesses with five employees and prohibits unlawful harassment for all employers, regardless of size. It has also required employers with fifty (50) or more employees to provide two hours of harassment prevention training to supervisors when hired and regularly throughout their employment.
The state legislature recently extended this requirement to employers with five (5) or more workers, with the additional requirement that one hour of training be provided to regular non-supervisory employees as well. Initially scheduled to take effect after the end of 2019, the extended requirements have been delayed for one year. Employers should plan to complete the training in 2020, as the extended deadline for completion is January 1, 2021.
But beware: The deadline for temporary and seasonal employees has not been extended. Starting January 1, 2020, seasonal and temporary employees (hired to work for less than six months) must receive one hour of training within thirty days or 100 hours of service, whichever comes first. And it’s not a bad idea to start now for all employees: recurrent training is one of the best ways for employers to show they took “reasonable steps” to prevent harassment from occurring in the first place!