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SB 778 Extends Employers’ Deadline for Providing New Harassment Prevention Training

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 778 into law, extending by one year the deadline for employers to implement new harassment prevention training requirements. The urgent legislation addresses concerns relating to Senate Bill 1343, which passed in September 2018 and substantially expanded state law training requirements that had been in place for more than a decade. SB 1343 gave employers until January 1, 2020 to comply with extensive new anti-harassment training requirements, including additional course content and training of all employees — supervisory and non-supervisory. SB 778 now gives employers an additional year, until January 1, 2021, to develop and implement new anti-harassment training that meets the new mandates outlined below.

What Are the New Training Requirements?
By January 1, 2021, California employers with five or more employees must provide:

  • At least two hours of harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees once every two years
  • At least one hour of harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory employees once every two years
  • At least two hours of harassment prevention training to new supervisory employees within six months after assuming the supervisory position
  • At least one hour of harassment prevention training to new non-supervisory employees within six months after the hire date

Beginning January 1, 2020, at least one hour (non-supervisory positions) or two hours (supervisory positions) of harassment prevention training to seasonal, temporary, or other employees hired to work for less than 6 months, by the time whichever event occurs first — 30 calendar days after the hire date or 100 hours worked.

What Should Employers Do Now To Prepare?
Though the one-year extension grants temporary relief, all employers are required to implement training of their supervisors and employees during calendar year 2020. The new legislation also clarifies that employees who completed the requisite harassment prevention training in 2019 are not required to receive refresher training courses until 2021.

The myriad of new California anti-harassment laws make clear that employers must take affirmative steps to prevent harassment in the workplace and failure to do so can lead to increased liability. Employers should not simply “check the box” when it comes to training. Instead, training must meet the needs of each employer’s unique workplace, as well as the type of employees being trained. Meyers Nave offers harassment prevention training for supervisory and non-supervisory employees that satisfy the requirements mandated under SB 778, and that promote positive, respectful and inclusive workplace culture. For more information about our training programs, please click here or send an email to info@meyersnave.com.