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Updated: May 3, 2024

California sexual harassment prevention training protects employees and employers

Published By:

Jon Davis

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Per California code, most employers in the state must provide their employees with training that is designed to educate and prevent sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace. For employers, when creating a training program for employees, it can take some time to understand all of the rules and topics that must be covered.

Fast facts about California’s sexual harassment training requirements

  • California employers with five or more employees must provide sexual harassment training
  • Training must be given within six months of hire and employee retraining is required every two years
  • Supervisors need two hours or more of training, non-supervisors need one or more hours of training
  • The training must cover harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

In this guide, we’ll cover which employers must offer this type of training, the topics the content must include, and how often you need to offer it in your place of business.

Why do some California employers provide sexual harassment training?

Though it can be a sensitive subject, providing sexual harassment training keeps employees aware of how their actions may affect coworkers and goes a long way toward preventing incidents in the workplace. In addition, the state of California also requires certain employers to provide training to their workers.


Let’s find out more about which employers are required to offer training.

Which California employers must provide sexual harassment training to their employees?

Employers with five or more employees must train all employees and supervisors within six months of their start date, and then retrain those employees every two years. An employer who has provided this training and education to an employee is not required to provide refresher training and education again until two years thereafter.


Now that we better understand which employers need to offer this training, let’s find out what training typically includes and who needs to take it.

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Who should receive this training?

Supervisory employees

  • Must complete at least two hours of classroom or other interactive training and education on sexual harassment prevention and abusive conduct prevention. New supervisory employees must be trained within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position.


Non-supervisory employees

  • Must complete at least one hour of classroom or interactive training and education. New nonsupervisory employees must be trained within six months of their hire.


Does this include temporary employees and seasonal employees?

Yes, those employees hired to work in a temporary or seasonal capacity, or any employee hired to work less than six months, must also be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first.


Note: The training may be completed all at once or in segments, as long as the applicable hourly total requirement is met.


What should the training include?

The law requires that the training must include practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The statutes and case-law principles prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment
  • The types of conduct that can be sexual harassment
  • The remedies available for victims of sexual harassment
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment
  • Practical examples of harassment
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process
  • Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it
  • How employers must correct harassing behavior
  • What to do if a supervisor is personally accused of harassment
  • The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it
  • The definition of abusive conduct under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2)


Finally, the contents of any training that is provided to employees must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to evaluate understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.

Once you’re finished reading about training requirements, you may find other resources we offer useful. For example, do you find calculating employee net pay and figuring out how much to withhold a little tricky? Give our California paycheck calculator a try and feel confident about your employees’ paychecks.

Recordkeeping of training

In California, for a minimum of two years employee training records and certain documentation must be kept by employers. Here is some of the information that must be kept on file:

  • Names of employees who received training
  • The date when the training was completed
  • A copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued
  • A copy of all materials (written or recorded) that were included in the training
  • Name of the provider who spearheads the training course


More resources for California employers

Training to keep your company compliant in California

In California, offering training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace has benefits for both employees and employers. On the one hand, the courses can keep coworkers informed about acceptable workplace behavior. On the flip side, employers can rest easily knowing that they are following the law and doing their part to ensure that workers treat each other with respect. If you have any questions about training requirements, we’re here to help.

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Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.