Sexual harassment and abusive conduct training is a good thing, but couldn’t these regulations be a little more clear?

Over the course of a few years and with the making of a couple important movements, the world has been served a wake-up call to the realities of sexual harassment and otherwise abusive workplace cultures. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is answering that call by amending the law that requires Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct training to include a wider net of employers, and the deadline to be in compliance is coming up!

This is a policy you’ll want to stay on top of because it’s a step in the direction toward ending workplace harassment and helping you and your employees thrive in a healthier environment. So here’s the nitty gritty for food and beverage owners.

All California businesses with five or more employees must provide Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct training to all employees by January 1, 2021. Note the date y’all, there’s been
an extension. By “all employees”, DFEH means any “full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, unpaid interns, unpaid volunteers, and persons providing services pursuant to a contract (independent contractors).” And that includes those in supervisory roles.

What’s a supervisor? Well, if someone has, “… authority to hire, fire, assign, transfer, discipline, or reward other employees” then they’re a supervisor says DFEH. They take it even further to state, “A supervisor is also anyone with the authority to effectively recommend (but not necessarily take) these actions if exercising that authority requires the use of independent judgment.” So if you’re the owner of a business, then you too get to participate in the mandatory sexual harassment and abusive conduct training.

But not all employees must be trained equally. The amended bill requires that non-supervisory employees receive one hour, and supervisory employees receive two hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention classroom training or other comparably interactive training. All new hires must complete the training within six months of employment. Employers are also responsible to provide this training every two years.

So here’s another layer — you have to make sure you’re providing your employees the correct sexual harassment and abusive conduct preventative training. You can go two ways to ensure that. Either hire a trainer that meets a few very specific qualifications, or you can visit the DFEH website that, as stated in the bill, must provide both training courses in lieu of paying a trainer and will be available later this year.

And lastly — drum roll please, the moment you’ve all been waiting for — yes there is paperwork. Employers are required to keep documentation of training for at least two years. Documentation should include: names of employees, dates of training, signatures, copies of certifications, type of training performed, any material used in the training and, last but not least, the name of the trainer.

That was a lot of stuff to pack into a blog, but the moral of the story is — training is a good thing. California is putting processes into practice to help you help your employees be better people and treat each other with kindness. Who knows, maybe this is taking us one step closer to world peace. So sure it’s another regulation added to a long list of regulations that you have to constantly think about, but it’s all for the greater good. If you’re looking for more information or want to watch out for any date changes, you can find all you need on the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing website.

Categories: Education