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California Employer Sexual Harassment Training

July 7, 2022 Legal Team

California law requires employers with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment training in compliance with California Government Code section 12950.

Mandatory Training Requirements

Section 12950 requires mandatory training for all employees as follows:

  • At least two hours of interactive training and education on sexual harassment for all supervisors.
  • At least one hour of interactive training and education for all other employees.
  • Subsequently, employers must provide sexual harassment training to all employees once every two years.
  • Every new employee must undergo sexual harassment training within six months of their employment.
  • Newly appointed supervisors must undergo sexual harassment training within six months of their new supervisory position.
  • While employers may choose to conduct training with more frequency, they are required to comply with the minimum set out by Section 12950.

Required Content of Training Modules

To comply with Section 12950, every employer must ensure that their sexual harassment training modules include information on all federal and state laws regarding the following:

  • Prohibition against sexual harassment
  • Prevention and correction of sexual harassment
  • Remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace

In addition to information on sexual harassment, training modules must also include information on federal and state laws regarding:

  • Discrimination and retaliation
  • Abusive conduct
  • Harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Mode of Delivery

All training modules must be designed as interactive training that include the opportunity for employees to ask questions, and assess the learning and understanding of the content learned by the employees. The training can be delivered through live classroom sessions, individualized e-learning, or webinars. The most important factor for training is that the sessions must be interactive, and employees who successfully complete training receive a certificate of completion.

Qualification of Sexual Harassment Trainers

Resource persons delivering sexual harassment training in compliance with Section 12950 must meet certain qualifications to satisfy the required training. Trainers must be either:

  • Attorneys admitted to the practice law in California with at least two years of experience practicing employment law
  • Human resources professionals with at least two years of practical experience in the prevention of harassment training, investigation, and advising employers in the prevention of harassment
  • Any other person who has received harassment training from a qualified trainer

Qualified trainers must be able to train employees about the following issues:

  • How to identify behavior that may amount to unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation under federal and California laws.
  • What steps employees should take when there is harassing behavior in the workplace.
  • How to report harassment complaints.
  • What supervisors must do to report harassing, discriminatory, or retaliatory behavior that they are aware of.
  • How to respond to harassment complaints.
  • What amounts to retaliation, and how to prevent it.
  • What must be included in the employer’s anti-harassment policy.
  • The effect of harassment on harassed employees, coworkers, harassers, and employers.
  • The employer’s obligation to conduct an investigation of harassment complaints.