California law requires employers with five or more staff members to train employees and supervisors to prevent sexual harassment and abusive behavior in the workplace. California Senate Bill 778 set January 1, 2021 as the deadline for compliance with this law.

According to SB 778, the penalty for non-compliance is fairly modest: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) “may seek an order requiring the employer to comply with these requirements.” (see section 12950.1. (f).) While this is sort of a “fix-it” type of penalty, Federal and State laws require an employer to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and correct any harassment that may occur. Numerous legal cases highlight the high cost of workplace harassment, so, it is best to comply and hopefully eliminate workplace harassment.

The great news is that the state of California offers FREE online sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention courses. These courses satisfy the state requirement for employees and supervisors.

DFEH created an online video training in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Employers may find this detailed sexual harassment prevention training FAQ to be a helpful resource.

Highlights of the requirements for California employers include:

  • Employees must receive sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training every two years.
  • Employers must retain evidence of employees’ training for at least two years.
  • Employers must give their employees this DFEH workplace poster or sexual harassment fact sheet.

Many payroll companies and other vendors sell training sessions so it’s good to know that the State of California offers a free option. Benefits Café does not provide legal advice and we encourage you to seek guidance from a lawyer. We can assist you with your group medical, dental, vision, life insurance and other employee benefit needs. We’ll help you stay in compliance with required laws and we’re a great resource for our clients. Give us a call at 800-746-0045 to learn more.