FAQ: New Harassment Prevention Compliance Training Mandates
Preston Clark, J.D. | Oct. 18, 2018

FAQ: New Anti-Harassment Compliance Training Mandates

Updated August 22, 2019

Which states have anti-harassment training requirements? California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Illinois, New York State, New York City, Washington State and Washington D.C. now have their own harassment prevention laws that require anti-harassment training. We’ve designed this frequently asked questions blog to breakdown the legislation at the state and regional level. If these mandates do apply to your organization, you may want to review our anti-harassment vendor comparison guide for help evaluating your options to meet the requirements.

New York State

Policy Requirements

Q1. How can employers provide their policy to employees?
A1. Employers must provide employees with their policy in writing. No signed acknowledgment is required, but employers are encouraged to obtain a signed acknowledgment.

Q2. Can employers provide their policy to employees electronically?
A2. Yes, but workers must be able to access the employer’s policy on a computer provided by the employer during work time and be able to print a copy for their records.

Training Requirements

Q1. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A1. All employees must complete the model training (link) or a comparable training that meets the minimum standards (link) by October 9, 2019.

Q2. How often must employees receive sexual harassment training?
A2. Employees must be trained at least once per year. In subsequent years, this may be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date or any other date the employer chooses.

Q3. What about new employees?
A3. As employers may be liable for the actions of employees immediately upon hire, the State encourages training as soon as possible. Employers should distribute the policy to employees prior to commencing work and should have it posted.

Q4. What if an employee only works part-time?
A4. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training.

Q5. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A5. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices. If both you and the individual’s former employer use the same unmodified state model training or one of similar substance (for example, shared training provided by a labor union or employer group), you may consider the employee trained. However, even if the same training is used, may still wish to train all new employees to your standards.

Q6. What does “interactive” mean?
A6. New York State law requires all sexual harassment training to be interactive. It requires some form of employee participation, meaning the training may:

  • Be web-based with questions asked of employees as part of the program;
  • Accommodate questions asked by employees;
  • Include a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions; and/or
  • Require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented.

Q7. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A7. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

Q8. What about temporary / transient employees? If someone just works for one day for the employer, or if someone works for just one day in NY?
A8. Employers are required to ensure that all New York State employees receive training.

Q9. What if my company works with New York State agencies?
A9. As of January 1, 2019, employers submitting bids to New York State or any of its public departments or agencies for a public contract will need to include a prescribed statement in the bid certifying compliance with the sexual harassment prevention policy and annual training requirements. Failure to provide such certified statement may result in ineligibility for the contract.

https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers

New York City

Policy Requirements

Q1. Does the New York City law require a specific policy?
A1. No, however, a new poster on anti-harassment is required to be posted effective September 6, 2018.

Q2. Is the poster required to be displayed in a particular place?
A2. Yes, it must be displayed in employee break rooms or other common areas employees gather.

Q3. Has the City released a model poster?
A3. Yes, you can find it here.

Q4: Has New York City release a free online training course?

A4: Yes, you can find it here: Free New York City Training

Q5: Does the Free NYC Course meet the interactivity requirements of New York State?

A5: Yes. You can view the free NYC course here>>

Training Requirements

Q1. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A1. Effective April 1, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees must complete interactive anti-sexual harassment training for all employees employed within New York City as soon as possible upon hire, and once every calendar year thereafter. Employers who have already delivered the NY State anti-harassment training at any point in 2019, as long as the training meets the NYC requirements, do not have to retrain employees in 2019.

Q2. How soon must new hires be trained?
A2. Employers should provide training to new staff as soon as possible after hire. Upon hire, employers are liable for sexual harassment by new employees.

Q3. Do my NYC supervisors need to receive additional training?
A3. Yes.

Q4. Are there specific topics that need to be addressed in the supervisor training?
A4. Yes. The NYC supervisor training must address the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.

Q4. Are there any types of employees that are exempt from the training under the law?
A4. Employers must train any employee who works more than 80 hours in a calendar year in a full or part-time capacity. Interns are included, provided they meet the 80 hour requirement.

Q5. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A5. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices.

Q6. What does “interactive” mean?
A6. “Interactive training” means participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in a trainer-trainee interaction, and includes use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program or other participatory forms of training as determined by the New York Human Rights Commission. However, “interactive training” is not required to be live or facilitated by an in-person instructor.

Q7. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A7. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

Q8: How long do completion records need to be stored?

A8: NYC requires employers to keep a record of all training, including a signed employee acknowledgment, which may be electronic. Employers must maintain the records for three years and such records must be made available for commission inspection upon request.

Q9: How often should employers train employees?
A10: Employers must provide their employees with an anti-sexual harassment training at least once per calendar year. Fulfilling the annual training requirement can be based on the calendar year, anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/stop-sexual-harassment-act.page

California

Policy Requirements

Q1. How can employers provide their policy to employees?

A1. Employers must disseminate the harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy using one or more of the following methods:

  • printing and providing a copy to all employees with an acknowledgment form for the employee to sign and return;
  • sending the policy via e-mail with an acknowledgment return form;
  • posting current versions of the policies on a company intranet with a tracking system ensuring all employees have read and acknowledged receipt of the policies;
  • discussing policies upon hire and/or during a new hire orientation session; and/or
  • any other way that ensures employees receive and understand the policies.

Q2. Can employers provide their policy to employees electronically?
A2. Yes, but an acknowledgment return form should accompany the electronic transmission.

Training Requirements for Employers with 5 or More Employees

Q1. By what date do my employees need to be trained?
A1.

  • Effective January 1, 2019 : All new hires must be trained within six months of hire and every two years. If the employer has provided a compliant training after January 1, 2019, the employer is not required to provide the training again before the January 1, 2020 deadline.
  • Effective January 1, 2020 – For seasonal and temporary employees, or any employee hired to work for less than six months, an employer shall provide training within 30 calendar days or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

Q2. How often do my employees need to be trained?
A2. In subsequent years, post-deadlines above, within six months of hire and every two years.

Q3: In 2019, do I need to RETRAIN California employees who were trained in 2018?

A3: Yes. According to recent (January, 2019) guidance from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, 2019 is a mandatory training year under SB1343, irrespective of who you may have trained in 2018.

Q4. What about newly hired employees?
A4. Within six months of hire.

Q5. What if an employee only works part-time?
A5. Seasonal or temporary employees or those hired for less than six months must be trained within 30 days of hire (effective January 1, 2020)

Q6. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A6. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices.

Q7. What does “interactive” mean?
A7. Training is individualized, interactive, computer-based training created by a trainer and an instructional designer. An e-learning training shall provide a link or directions on how to contact a trainer who shall be available to answer questions and to provide guidance and assistance about the training within a reasonable period of time after the supervisor asks the question, but no more than two business days after the question is asked. The trainer shall maintain all written questions received, and all written responses or guidance provided, for a period of two years after the date of the response.

For any of the above training methods, the instruction shall include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities that assess the supervisor’s application and understanding of content learned, and numerous hypothetical scenarios about harassment, each with one or more discussion questions so that supervisors remain engaged in the training. Examples include pre- or post-training quizzes or tests, small group discussion questions, discussion questions that accompany hypothetical fact scenarios, use of brief scenarios discussed in small groups or by the entire group, or any other learning activity geared towards ensuring interactive participation as well as the ability to apply what is learned to the supervisor’s work environment.

Q8. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A8. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive and complete the training. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

Q9. What about temporary / transient employees?
A9. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training in accordance with California law. For temporary employees (those who work less than six months or less than 100 hours), the training must be completed within 30 days of hire (effective January 1, 2020).

Q10. Are there any specific training requirements for the supervisors?
A10. Covered employers are also required to include prevention of abusive conduct as a component of the two-hour minimum required harassment training, and to provide ongoing abusive conduct prevention training to each supervisory employee every two years.

Q11. Are there any specific topics that need to be addressed in the training for supervisors?
A11. The training must include, but is not limited to: a definition of unlawful sexual harassment under the FEHA and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition to a definition of sexual harassment, an employer may provide a definition of and train about other forms of harassment covered by the FEHA, and discuss how harassment of an employee can cover more than one basis; FEHA and Title VII statutory provisions and case law principles concerning the prohibition against and the prevention of unlawful sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in employment; the types of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment; remedies available for sexual harassment victims in civil actions and potential employer/individual exposure/liability; strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace; supervisors’ obligation to report sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of which they become aware; practical examples, such as factual scenarios taken from case law, news and media accounts, hypotheticals based on workplace situations and other sources, which illustrate sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation using training modalities such as role plays, case studies and group discussions; the limited confidentiality of the complaint process; resources for victims of unlawful sexual harassment, such as to whom they should report any alleged sexual harassment; the steps necessary to take appropriate remedial measures to correct harassing behavior, among others.

Q12: How is this different than AB 1825? AB 1825 required training for employers with 50 or more employees. The training was required for supervisors only.

SB 1343 amends sections 12950 and 12950.1 of Government Code (AB 1825). SB 1343 amends the code to apply to employers with five or more employees as well as requiring ALL employees—both supervisory and non-supervisory—to complete the training.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1343

Washington, D.C.

Q1: When is the effective date?
A1: December 13, 2018.

Q2: When is the training deadline?
A2: The deadline for training has not yet been set because the law has not yet received budgetary funding.  When it is funded, a deadline will be set, therefore, there is currently no obligation for employers.

Q3: Which employers are affected?
A3:Businesses who employ tipped employees (as defined by DC law).

Q4: Who must be trained?
A4: All employees (and owners). Training for managers must be in-person.

Q5: How often do employees need to be trained?
A5: Every 2 years. And within 90 days from commencement of employment, unless the new employee has received training in the past 2 years.

Q6: Is there a time/length requirement for the training?
A6: No.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-employment-requirements-for-all-d-c-35684/

Connecticut

Policy Requirements

Q1. Does Connecticut have a written policy requirement?
A1. As of June 2019, yes.  The policy must be provided to employees within three months of their hire date.

Q2. What must the posting include?
A2. The information on the poster should include, but is not limited to:

  • the statutory definition of sexual harassment and examples of different types of sexual harassment;
  • notice that sexual harassment is prohibited under state and federal law;
  • the remedies available;
  • language to the effect that persons who commit sexual harassment may be subject to civil or criminal penalties;
  • contact information for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities; and
  • a statement that Connecticut law requires that a formal written complaint be filed with the Commission within 180 days of the date when the alleged sexual harassment occurred.

Training Requirements

Q1. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A1. In June 2019, Connecticut expanded its harassment prevention measures to include all employees at employers of any size.  This new requirement must be met by October 1, 2020.  Employees hired on or after October 1, 2019 must be trained within six months of their hire date.

Q2. How often must CT supervisors receive sexual harassment training?
A2. Supervisors must be trained within six months of their hire or assumption of a supervisory position.  All supervisors must be trained by October 1, 2020, or within six months of an employee being hired into a supervisory role.

Q3. How long does the training have to be?
A3. A minimum of two hours for employers with three or more employees.

Q4. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A4. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices.

Q5. In what format does the training have to be given? Can it be interactive?
A5. Must be presented in clear, understandable language in a format that allows participants to ask questions and receive answers. Audio, video and other teaching aides may be utilized to increase comprehension or otherwise enhance the training process.

Q6. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A6. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/time-s-up-connecticut-employers-to-31632/

Delaware

Policy Requirements

Q1. Does Delaware have a required policy regarding sexual harassment in the workplace?
A1. No, however, the Delaware Department of Labor will create an information sheet on sexual harassment and make it available to employers by publishing it on the Department’s website.

Q2. What do Delaware employers need to do with the information sheet?
A2. Delaware employers with more than 4 employees must distribute, physically or electronically, the information sheet to their employees as follows:

  • to new employees at the commencement of employment; and
  • to existing employees within 6 months of the effective date of the law (January 1, 2019).

Training Requirements

Q1. Do I need to train all Delaware employees?
A1. Yes, Delaware employers of 50 or more employees must provide interactive training and education to all employees regarding the prevention of sexual harassment.

Q2. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A2. The training must be provided to employees as follows:

  • to new employees within 1 year of the commencement of employment and thereafter every 2 years; and
  • to existing employees within 1 year of the effective date of the law (January 1, 2019) and thereafter every 2 years.

Q3. How often must employees receive sexual harassment training?
A3. Employees must be trained by January 1, 2020 and then every two years thereafter.

Q4. What about new employees or those who start after January 1?
A4. All employees must complete sexual harassment training within one year of starting their job.

Q5. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A5. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices.

Q6. What does “interactive” mean?
A6. Delaware State law requires all sexual harassment training to be interactive. It requires that the interactive training be “effective” but does not define the term.

Q7. Does Delaware have any special training requirements for supervisors?
A7. Employers are required to provide additional, interactive training to all supervisors.

Q8. When is the additional, supervisor training required?
A8. The training must be given to new supervisors within 1 year of the commencement of employment as a supervisor, and thereafter every 2 years; and to existing supervisors within 1 year of the effective date of the law (January 1, 2019), and thereafter every 2 years.

Q9. What must the supervisor training include in terms of content?
A9. The specific responsibilities of a supervisor regarding the prevention and correction of sexual harassment; and a statement of the legal prohibition against retaliation. If an employer provided training to employees or supervisors prior to January 1, 2019 that would satisfy the statutory training requirements described above, no additional training is required until January 1, 2020.

Illinois

Training Requirements

Q1. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A1. As of August 2019, all employers in Illinois must provide sexual harassment training to all employees by January 1, 2021 and thereafter on a yearly basis.

Q2. How often must Illinois employers train employees?

A2. On an annual basis.

Q3. How long does the training have to be?
A3. The Illinois law does not specific length, although a number of topics are required to be covered.

Q4. What about employees who received the same training from a prior employer within the past year?
A4. It is your responsibility to ensure that all employees are trained to your company standards and familiar with your company practices.

Q5. In what format does the training have to be given? Can it be interactive?
A5. Must be presented in clear, understandable language in a format that allows participants to ask questions and receive answers. Audio, video and other teaching aides may be utilized to increase comprehension or otherwise enhance the training process.

Q6. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A6. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

Washington

Policy Requirements

Q1. Is there a policy requirement in Washington?
A1. Employers must adopt a harassment policy that includes a list of resources for the employees to utilize, including the contact information of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the state human rights commission and local advocacy groups that focus on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Training Requirements

Q1. Are all Washington employers required to provide sexual harassment training?
A1. No, at this time, the law is limited to employers in retail, hotel, motel, security and property services industries.

Q2. Does the size of the employer matter for the training mandates?
A2. No, employers with even one employee need to offer the training

Q3. Do managers need to attend the training?
A3. Yes.

Q4. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A4. Hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms must comply with the new law by January 1, 2020.  All other covered employers must comply by January 1, 2021

Q5. How often must employees receive sexual harassment training?
A5. Annually.

Maine

Policy Requirements

Q1. How can employers provide their policy to employees?
A1. Employers must provide employees with their policy in writing on an annual basis. No signed acknowledgement is required, but employers are encouraged to obtain a signed acknowledgement.

Q2. Can employers provide their policy to employees electronically?
A2. Yes, but it must be accessible by all employees.

Training Requirements

Q1. Are all Maine employers required to provide sexual harassment training?
A1. Maine employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment training.

Q2. Do I need to train all employees or just supervisors in Maine?
A2. All employees in Maine need to receive sexual harassment training. Employers must also conduct specialized training for supervisors and managers that that includes, at a minimum, the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and methods that these employees must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints. This training must be delivered within one year of the commencement of employment.

Q3. Does the supervisor training have specific topics that must be addressed in the training?
A3. Yes. The training must include the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and methods that these employees must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.

Q4. By what date do all of my employees need to be trained?
A4. Maine’s law on sexual harassment training is already in effect and the requirement is ongoing and must be conducted within one year of the commencement of employment.

Q5. How often must employees receive sexual harassment training?
A5. Employees must be trained within one year of the commencement of their employment.

Q6. What if an employee only works part-time?
A6. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training.

Q7. What happens if some employees fail to take the training despite an employer’s best efforts to make it available, and to require everyone to take it?
A7. Employers are required to ensure that all employees receive training on an annual basis. Employers may take appropriate administrative remedies to ensure compliance.

 


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