Free Online Sexual Harassment Prevention Training being offered by the DFEH
While we’ve all been focusing on COVID-19 and what it means for our business and our employees, we should not lose sight of other important business requirements and responsibilities. Employees are still protected against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and related misconduct in the workplace. This holds true even if the workforce has been primarily working remotely. Employers should be aware that the COVID-19 crisis may increase the risk of harassment or discrimination for a host of reasons. National origin, age, and disability are just some of the protected classes that are being impacted.
In these unprecedented times, there is no better time to ensure your company is compliant with California SB 1343. Specifically, this law requires that all employers of 5 or more provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to nonsupervisory employees, and at least 2 hours to supervisory employees by January 1, 2021, and once every 2 years thereafter. In order to comply with California law, the training must cover specific topics as well as include practical examples.
While there are many online training courses available to satisfy this new law, The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has recently released its free online training course for non-supervisory employees (https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/shpt/) on preventing sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace. The training is accessible on either a computer or mobile device. We expect the supervisory training to be released shortly along with both trainings available in different languages.
The training is accessible on either a computer or mobile device. and is available is several languages.
In addition to training, California employers should not forget to:
Post the required notice in the workplace: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/12/DFEH_WorkPlaceDiscriminationHarassmentPoster.pdf
Provide each employee with a sexual harassment information sheet upon hire: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/08/DFEH_SexualHarassmentPoster.pdf
Develop (or update) an anti-harassment policy that includes a complaint procedure. Routinely discussing the policy with your employees at meetings and reminding them of the procedures are recommended. This will demonstrate your dedication to protecting employees.
Once all of your employees have completed training, make sure you consider how you plan to keep up with ongoing and future training needs. You must be able to provide training to new hires and managers that are promoted within 6 months of being in their new position and 2 years thereafter. In addition, temporary or seasonal employees training should be within 30 days or before their first 100 hours worked if they work less than 6 months. Will you offer the same instruction of training (online) every year, or will you offer a blended (classroom or webinar) approach to accommodate the one-off’s? Whatever you choose to do, make sure you follow the 2 year records retention and tracking requirements. To see more on classroom training, once it is allowed, see our previous blog post for all of the acceptable options for effective interactive training.
In addition to being compliant with the law, there is a very compelling business case for stopping and preventing harassment before it becomes a problem. Workplace harassment not only causes physical, mental and economic pain and suffering to the victims, but it also affects the employer’s bottom line with decreased productivity, turnover, direct costs for legal remedies, workplace disruption, reputational harm and poor morale.
Building your sexual harassment training with the intention of preventing harassment and creating a positive culture, instead of reducing your employer liability can send the right message to your employees. Leadership support and a well-designed training and education program on preventing harassment, discrimination, retaliation will likely result in a more positive and respectful work environment with minimal disruptions.
The HR Manager qualified trainers are available to assist you as you navigate through these complex requirements and as you choose the right approach for your company. Should you need any assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.