The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently updated its Sexual Harassment Prevention Training FAQ guidance to address some of the questions surrounding SB 1343, which requires employers with five or more employees to provide classroom or “other interactive training” for all California employees (not just supervisors) every two years. SB 1343 was initially set to go into effect on January 1, 2020. But in 2019, Governor Newsom signed two amendments to SB 1343 that push the effective date out to January 1, 2021. The deadline to comply with SB 1343 does not change the obligation of an employer with 50 or more employees to train new supervisory employees within six months of their promotion or hire.
The December 2019 updates to the FAQ reflect the extension of the deadline for compliance and moves the DFEH’s deadline to complete the optional online training course that employers may elect to use to meet the requirements to early 2020. Additionally, the update clarifies employers’ obligations with respect to seasonal and temporary employees. Starting on January 1, 2021, such employees must be trained within 30 calendar days of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever is sooner. If the employee works for fewer than 30 calendar days and less than 100 hours, there are no training requirements. For temporary employees, the temporary services employer must provide training.
Apart from the updated portions of the FAQ, employers should take note of the explanation the DFEH offers of what constitutes “effective interactive training.” Classroom training, computer-based training that is individualized and interactive, and real time webinars can all fall within the definition. The FAQ provides further guidance for each type of training.
Lastly, although California employers do not need to train non-California employees, independent contractors, volunteers, or unpaid interns, these individuals are taken into account when determining whether the employer has five or more employees. In addition, employers must take account of all employees in all locations in determining whether they meet the threshold.