On August 30, 2019, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 778, extending for one year the deadline for providing harassment prevention training to employees. California employers now have until January 1, 2021 to provide the sexual harassment prevention training mandated by SB 1343, which took effect on January 1, 2019.
SB 1343 requires an employer with five or more employees to provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment prevention to all supervisory employees, and at least one hour of such training to all nonsupervisory employees in California within six months of their assumption of a position. That statute gave employers until January 1, 2020 to provide that training.
SB 778 was introduced as “clean-up” legislation, meant to address unintended consequences of SB 1343 that were making it difficult for employers to provide the newly mandated training by the January 1, 2020 deadline. First, the language of SB 1343 made it unclear whether employers who had already trained employees in 2018 were required to re-train those employees by January 1, 2020. Second, although SB 1343 gave employers the option of using online training created by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to satisfy the new training requirements, DFEH made it clear that its online training would not be available until late 2019, making it difficult for employers to get their employees trained by January 1, 2020.
In addition to giving employers until January 1, 2021 to provide training, SB 778 also gives the DFEH more time to prepare and make its online harassment training available. It also gives the DFEH more time to update its regulations on harassment prevention training to better define what is required for the new one-hour nonsupervisory harassment training.