SB 778 – Extends Effective Date For Implementation Of Harassment Prevention Training Requirements To Calendar Year 2020

Category: Private Education
Date: Nov 11, 2019 10:38 AM

During the 2018 Legislative Session, the California Legislature passed SB 1343, which expanded harassment prevention training to include nonsupervisory employees and also require all employees to be trained in the calendar year 2019.  After the passage of SB 1343, there were a number of issues and concerns related to the implementation of the new law.  Governor Newsom has now signed into law clean-up legislation SB 778 to address these issues.  SB 778 will now delay the implementation of the new harassment training requirements and any refresher training until the calendar year 2020.  As urgency legislation, SB 778 went into effect immediately upon Governor Newsom’s approval of the law on August 30, 2019.

SB 778 makes the following modifications to harassment training requirements that were added on January 1, 2019, as a result of last year’s SB 1343:

1.  Implementation of Harassment Prevention Training Not Required Now Until Calendar Year 2020.

The requirement to provide harassment prevention training to both supervisory and nonsupervisory employees is now not required until the calendar year 2020, as opposed to the previous SB 1343 requirement that all applicable harassment training be conducted in 2019.  This new change in the law will allow employers more time to provide any required training to those employees not already trained – especially nonsupervisory employees who are now required to receive at least one hour of harassment training every two years.

This change will also provide the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) more time to prepare and make available online harassment training for employers to use to comply with the requirements mandated by SB 1343.  This new law should also give the DFEH more time to update its regulations on harassment prevention training to better define what is required for the new one-hour nonsupervisory harassment training.  Currently, such DFEH regulations only reference the previous AB 1825 two-hour supervisory employee harassment training requirements that are not entirely applicable to nonsupervisory employees.

2.  Any Complaint Harassment Prevention Training Conducted in 2019 Would Not Require Refresher Training Again Until Calendar Year 2021.

By extending out the timeline to provide harassment training to the calendar year 2020, SB 778 addressed concerns raised by employers who already provided compliant harassment training for both supervisory and nonsupervisory employees in the calendar year 2018 and would have had to re-train such employees a year earlier this year under SB 1343.  With the new 2020 timeline for implementing this training, any previous 2018 harassment training would be on track for the standard two-year follow-up training in the calendar year 2020.

Even for those employers who already provided SB 1343-compliant training to supervisory and nonsupervisory employees this year in 2019, the new law addresses this scenario by indicating that refresher training is not required again for another two years – which would be in the calendar year 2021.

What Employers Should Do Now?

The main impact of SB 778 is that employers now have more flexibility in implementing the new requirement to provide at least one hour of harassment prevention training to nonsupervisory employees that were established by last year’s SB 1343.  Instead of providing this new training this year, employers now have until the end of the calendar year 2020 to provide this training to nonsupervisory employees.

Now that SB 778 has been effective since August 30, 2019, as urgency legislation, employers who provided compliant harassment training to supervisory or nonsupervisory employees in 2018 do not have to schedule refresher trainings earlier that the standard two-year track for refresher trainings – which would result in such training being scheduled next year (2020).

Finally, it is important to continue following the existing requirement that supervisory employees receive this training within six months of hire under the original AB 1825 training requirements.  Therefore, regardless of whether an employer-provided harassment prevention training to employees in 2018, any new supervisory employees would still need to receive this training within six months of their hire date if that timeline falls in the calendar year 2019.

(SB 778 amends Section 12950.1 of the Government Code.)

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