California expands required sexual-harassment training

Syrah grapes at Kick Ranch in Santa Rosa, on Monday, August 3, 2015 .(BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

HEFFERNAN INSURANCE BROKERS, HEFFERNAN INSURANCE BROKERS

California on Jan. 1 expands requirements for vintners, winegrowers and other employers on training against sexual harassment.

Previous law required employers with 50 or more workers to hold two hours of anti-sexual harassment training for supervisors every two years. The new law and subsequent regulations by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing outline the training requirements.

The new law, Senate Bill 396, expands the subjects of that training to also include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

The training must include specific examples of such harassment. This portion must be presented by trainers with knowledge and expertise in these areas.

SB 396 also requires employers to display a poster regarding transgender rights prepared by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

CURRENT LAW ON TRAINING

In regard to format, training may be provided in a classroom setting with an in-person trainer, through “e-learning” programs or via online seminars.

The content of classroom and online seminar training programs must be created and taught by a trainer who has expertise in current instructional best practices. An e-learning program must provide a link to a trainer who can answer a trainee’s questions within two business days.

In regard to content, the training and education must include information and practical guidance about federal and state provisions on the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment, as well as remedies available for victims of sexual harassment.

Other required components include questions that assess learning, “skill-building activities” that assess the supervisor’s application and understanding of training content, and numerous hypothetical scenarios that include discussion questions.

The training should include practical examples of what is considered sexual harassment, along with instruction about the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.