SB 778: Everything You Need To Know

SB 778: Everything You Need To Know

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SB 778 is the latest law in California that sets a specific deadline for companies with five or more workers in the state to provide sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors and at least one-hour anti-harassment training to all non-administrative employees.

SB 778 law: A Brief Introduction

California state remains at the forefront of state-directed sexual harassment training needs for organizations. The state’s laws under the DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) describe sexual harassment as undesirable sexual favors or verbal, visual, or physical behavior of a sexual nature. It encircles multiple forms of offensive conduct, including gender-based harassment or discrimination of a person of the same sex.

Whether sexual harassment prevention training is mandated or not, and whether workers serve onsite or work from home, in the field, or in a hybrid atmosphere, enlightening employees on acceptable and inappropriate conduct is a cornerstone of constructing a compliant, inclusive and harassment-free organizational culture. 

In addition, when organizations do not exercise measures to prevent incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace, it can make the work environment toxic. It further leads to severe repercussions and costly sexual harassment claims, resulting in damage to a company's brand and reputation, a decline in customer loyalty, and difficulty in hiring and retaining talented candidates. 

It was why the California state enacted the SB 778 law that can help organizations conduct regular sexual harassment prevention training. These anti-harassment organizational training can change a toxic workplace and drive favorable conduct by encouraging individuals to speak up and take appropriate steps when they encounter any harassment or discrimination instances.  

This SB 778 put forth prerequisites for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to develop and make available online harassment prevention training courses that meet both the one-hour and two-hour training requirements.

Who Needs to Get Trained Under SB 778?

  • Supervisors

W.E.F. January 1, 2021, California organizations with five or more workers must train all managers and employees within six months of their joining date and then conduct sexual harassment prevention training every two years. Managerial employees must perform at least two hours of a boardroom or other interactive anti-harassment training and instruction on sexual harassment deterrence.

  • Non-Supervisory Employees

Non-supervisory workers must finish at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training under SB 778.

  • Temporary Employees

Temporary and seasonal employees or any worker hired to work less than six months term must get trained within the initial 30 days after their employment date or 100 hours served, depending on which happens to be the first.

  • Temporary workers from an agency

According to California SB 778 law, temporary workers coming from an agency should get sexual harassment training from the temporary agency, not the company.

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements Under SB 778 

The sexual harassment prevention training prerequisites for furnishing and who needs sexual harassment prevention training remain enacted in the regulation. Nevertheless, some laws can differ depending on the employment standing and type of worker.  

Any employee who manages another worker must spend at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention instruction and training. In addition, new administrative employees must complete two hours of sexual harassment training within six months of work or promotion to comply with the SB 778 laws. Furthermore, non-supervisory employees need just one hour of harassment prevention training that they must complete within six months of their joining date.

How to Deliver Sexual Harassment Prevention Training?

California SB 778 law mandates practical, interactive training, which companies can deliver online, in a webinar, or live in a classroom. In addition, regardless of the training process employed, workers must be able to ask relevant questions and be able to use the training material to acquire a better understanding of how to control sexual harassment in an organization. Mentioned hereunder are some methods to deliver sexual harassment training. 

  • Classroom training is delivered in person and conducted by a trainer. These harassment prevention training sessions must remain separate from an employee’s day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Online harassment prevention training is computer-based and delivers an interactive, individualized training experience. Online training should offer a link or set of education on ways to contact the trainer, who should be available to reply to questions and provide advice and training service throughout the training session. In addition, the trainer must further keep all written inquiries received and any answers provided for at least two years after the sexual harassment training.
  • Webinar harassment prevention training is an online seminar conducted by a coach in real-time. The webinar design must let employees raise queries and get answers. Organizations must keep a duplicate of the webinar, documented materials used by the instructor, and documentation of registered answers or directions provided by the instructor for at least two years.
  • As per California’s sexual harassment prevention training prerequisites, competent trainers can be educators, professors, HR experts, counselors, or harassment prevention counselors. Attorneys are mandated to have been permitted to practice in any jurisdiction in the United States for a minimum term of two years and have employment regulation issues related to California’s Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) as a part of their work.
  • Organizations can choose to retrain their managers individually on their two-year sexual harassment prevention training date or specify a training year during which all managers get retrained. In addition, no supervisor should work for more than two years without attending sexual harassment prevention training. 

Recordkeeping Requirements for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Under SB 778

Organizations in California must keep sexual harassment prevention training documents for a minimum of two years. The records they must keep safe for two years are as follows:

  • Dates of training.
  • Names of attendees.
  • Names of trainers and training providers.
  • Type of training.
  • Sign-in sheet.
  • Copies of recorded harassment training materials, such as webinars or videos employed throughout e-Learning.
  • Copies of documented training materials, such as handouts, quizzes, or activities.
  • Copies of written inquiries received and all written responses or guidance provided during the harassment prevention training session.
  • Copies of certificates of completion or attendance or other relevant accolades.

If you are a business owner or administrator in California, you must fulfill all the sexual harassment training requirements under SB 778 and SB 1343 to remain compliant with state laws. 

Fines and Penalties for Non-Compliance with SB 778

The penalty for non-compliance with SB 778 is pretty inexpensive. Under SB (Senate Bill) 778, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) may seek a court order requiring the company to comply with the provisions. 

Nevertheless, the increased cost of corporate harassment both financially and culturally makes it practical to use these means to eliminate sexual harassment in an organization. Enlightening your team about a sexual harassment transgression and its repercussions in California can help facilitate these instances.

The Bottom Line 

While compliance with this SB 778 harassment prevention laws might feel disorganized or time-consuming, it is mandatory, and the procedure isn't challenging. Thus, all organizations in California must develop a plan, get their team trained, and make sure to keep close track of their documentation to fulfill the prerequisites for this SB 778 regulation and create a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. Also, by imparting sexual harassment prevention training, companies can drive positive behavior and retain employees for an extended time.

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