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SB-778 Employers: sexual harassment training: requirements.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/26/2019 09:00 PM
SB778:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 778


Introduced by Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement (Senators Hill (Chair), Jackson, Mitchell, Morrell, and Pan)

February 26, 2019


An act to amend Section 12950.1 of the Government Code, relating to employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 778, as introduced, Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement. Employers: sexual harassment training: requirements.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes specified employment practices unlawful, including the harassment of an employee directly by the employer or indirectly by agents of the employer with the employer’s knowledge. Under existing law, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing administers these provisions. Existing law, by January 1, 2020, requires an employer with 5 or more employees to provide at least 2 hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least 1 hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees in California within 6 months of their assumption of a position. Existing law also specifies that an employer who has provided this training to an employee after January 1, 2019, is not required to provide sexual harassment training and education by the January 1, 2020, deadline.
This bill would instead specify that an employer who has provided this training and education to an employee after January 1, 2018, is not required to do so again until after December 31, 2020. The bill would make other related changes to those provisions requiring sexual harassment training.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 12950.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

12950.1.
 (a) By January 1, 2020, an employer having five or more employees shall provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees in California within six months of their assumption of a position. position, and thereafter refresher training to each employee once every two years. An employer may provide this training in conjunction with other training provided to the employees. The training may be completed by employees individually or as part of a group presentation, and may be completed in shorter segments, as long as the applicable hourly total requirement is met. An employer who has provided this training and education to an employee after January 1, 2019, 2018, is not required to provide refresher training and education by the January 1, 2020, deadline. After January 1, 2020, each employer covered by this section shall provide sexual harassment training and education to each employee in California once every two years. until after December 31, 2020. The training and education required by this section shall include information and practical guidance regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment. The training and education shall also include practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and shall be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The department shall provide a method for employees who have completed the training to save electronically and print a certificate of completion.
(b) An employer shall also include prevention of abusive conduct as a component of the training and education specified in subdivision (a).
(c) An employer shall also provide training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as a component of the training and education specified in subdivision (a). The training and education shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, and shall be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in those areas.
(d) The state shall incorporate the training required by subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, into the 80 hours of training provided to all new employees pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 19995.4, using existing resources.
(e) Notwithstanding subdivisions (j) and (k) of Section 12940, a claim that the training and education required by this section did not reach a particular individual or individuals shall not in and of itself result in the liability of any employer to any present or former employee or applicant in any action alleging sexual harassment. Conversely, an employer’s compliance with this section does not insulate the employer from liability for sexual harassment of any current or former employee or applicant.
(f) If an employer violates this section, the department may seek an order requiring the employer to comply with these requirements.
(g) The training and education required by this section is intended to establish a minimum threshold and should not discourage or relieve any employer from providing for longer, more frequent, or more elaborate training and education regarding workplace harassment or other forms of unlawful discrimination in order to meet its obligations to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent and correct harassment and discrimination. This section shall not be construed to override or supersede statutes, including, but not limited to, Section 1684 of the Labor Code, that meet or exceed the training for nonsupervisory employees required under this section.
(h) (1) Beginning January 1, 2020, for seasonal and temporary employees, or any employee seasonal, temporary, or other employees that is are hired to work for less than six months, an employer shall provide training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. In the case of a temporary employee employed by a temporary services employer, as defined in Section 201.3 of the Labor Code, to perform services for clients, the training shall be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2020, sexual harassment prevention training for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, as defined in the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), shall be consistent with training for nonsupervisory employees pursuant to paragraph (8) of subdivision (a) of Section 1684 of the Labor Code.
(i) (1) For purposes of this section only, “employer” means any person regularly employing five or more persons or regularly receiving the services of five or more persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or any person acting as an agent of an employer, directly or indirectly, the state, or any political or civil subdivision of the state, and cities.
(2) For purposes of this section, “abusive conduct” means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.
(j) For purposes of providing training to employees as required by this section, an employer may develop his or her their own training module or may direct employees to view the online training course referenced in subdivision (k) and this shall be deemed to have complied with and satisfied the employers’ obligations as set forth in this section and Section 12950.
(k) The Department of Fair Employment and Housing shall develop or obtain two online training courses on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace in accordance with the provisions of this section. The course for nonsupervisory employees shall be one hour in length and the course for supervisory employees shall be two hours in length.
(l) The department shall make the online training courses available on its Internet Web site. internet website. The online training courses shall contain an interactive feature that requires the viewer to respond to a question periodically in order for the online training courses to continue to play. Any questions resulting from the online training course described in this subdivision shall be directed to the trainee’s employer’s Human Resources Department or equally qualified professional rather than the department.