State Requirements For Sexual Harassment Training
Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

Learn The Requirements For Sexual Harassment Training

With sexual harassment being so prevalent in the news and in the workplace, more and more states are passing sexual harassment laws that employers must comply to. If you have employees in multiple states, it can be somewhat of a challenge to keep the training requirements straight. In this article, we are going to cover the states that have training requirements and summarize the details of the law. Please note that these laws can change and that the information below does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions, please consult with your legal advisor.

Before we review the state requirements, let’s first learn about the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based upon sex. This law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against individuals in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment because of their gender. Courts have found that sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, therefore it violates the laws against discrimination in the workplace. Title VII covers private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions employing a certain number of employees.

Sexual Harassment Training Laws

California

Sexual harassment is illegal under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

  • California employers of five or more employees, including those who work outside California, are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees every two years.
  • Supervisors must receive two hours of training, and all other employees must receive one hour of training. This includes contractual employees as well.
  • This training needs to be completed within six months of the date of hire.

New York

  • All employers, regardless of size, must train all employees and this training must be provided to existing employees by the end of 2019.
  • Employees must be trained at least once a year. For consecutive years, this may be based on the calendar year anniversary of each employee’s start date, or any other date the employer chooses.
  • All employees in New York City must be trained after 90 days of hire unless the employee received training within the same annual cycle from a previous employer. New York does not specify a minimum training length and the training must be renewed annually.

Connecticut

On June 18, 2019, Connecticut established a law expanding its sexual harassment training requirements.

  • Employers must now provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees, including supervisors.
  • New employees hired after October 1, 2019, must be trained within six months of hire.
  • If you are currently employed, you must be trained by October 1, 2020.

Delaware

New supervisors must receive additional interactive training within one year of their date of hire or commencement of a supervisory role.

  • Existing supervisors must receive training by January 1, 2020.
  • Delaware does not specify a specific length of training, but the best practice is 1–1.5 hours for employees and 2 hours for supervisors.
  • Training must be conducted for new employees within one year of the commencement of their employment. Existing employees must receive sexual harassment training within one year of the effective date of the statute (that is, by Jan. 1, 2020).

Illinois

Illinois is one of the newer states to pass sexual harassment training laws.

  • Any employer in Illinois is mandated to provide sexual harassment training to all employees.
  • Illinois employees must be trained on an annual basis and the law does not specify the length of training.
  • Restaurants and bars are required to provide specialized training and sexual harassment policies.
  • The new law, SB 75, also called the Workplace Transparency Act, was signed on August 9, 2019, and the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. In addition to requiring annual sexual harassment training, the law also addresses other workplace issues, such as protections to independent contractors and disclosures.

Maine

Maine also has sexual harassment training requirements.

  • If you are an employer with a minimum of 15 employees, you must provide sexual harassment training to all employees.
  • For new employees, they have one year to have the training completed. For supervisors, once you move into a supervisory role, then you must be trained. Within that year of being in a supervisory role, supervisors are required to completed additional interactive training within that same year. Existing supervisors are required to have the training completed by January 1, 2020.
  • Maine is another state that does not specify the minimum training length, but it is good to use best practice.
  • The renewal is every two years.

Washington

Washington’s law is limited to employers in retail, hotel, motel security, and property service industries.

  • Employers with one employee must offer annual sexual harassment training and they must endorse a policy on harassment. The policy must include a list of resources including the contact information of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Human Rights Commission and local advocacy groups that focus on preventing sexual harassment and assault.
  • Washington’s law does not specify the minimum training length, but hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms must comply by January 1, 2020, while all other employers must comply by January 1, 2021.

Conclusion

While these are the only states at the moment that have state requirements, other states strongly encourage employers to provide such training, even if it isn't legally required. Providing your employees and supervisors with sexual harassment training is considered a HR best practice.

Additional Resources:

Close