Is sexual harassment training required in California?

Recently, this blog highlighted the story of a California executive who was fired for allegedly sexually harassing employees. In that case, the former chief executive officer of American Apparel was accused of having inappropriate relationships with several employees, and the company thought it was best to end its relationship with the man, who was the company’s founder.

Many California employees likely understand that sexual harassment is not uncommon in the workplace. Like the American Apparel case, people know that many of California’s employees are subjected to this type of treatment when they go to work. People may wonder if there are any training programs in place to try and prevent sexual harassment in California workplaces.

According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, employers are liable for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Part of this responsibility includes the need to train employees to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the first place.

Under California law, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide training about sexual harassment in the workplace. This training must be given to any employee in a supervisory position. It must include at least two hours of training in a classroom setting. This training must be given within six months of hiring the supervisor.

All employees, according the DFEH, must be given a pamphlet about sexual harassment that explains that it is illegal. They must also be informed about the company’s internal policies regarding sexual harassment, including how to report.

When employers fail to properly train their employees, people can suffer from a hostile work environment, unwanted sexual advances and other forms of sexual harassment. An attorney can help to answer specific questions — which this blog post cannot — about a person’s case.

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