California’s training mandates for sexual harassment prevention

Posted in Sexual Harassment on November 7, 2013

The last few months have been full of scandal for local governments in some of California’s largest cities. There was, of course, the Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal that cost him his job as mayor of San Diego. And last month, two city council members for the city of Los Angeles were sued by former staff members in separate sexual harassment lawsuits.

In what may have been an attempt to show authoritative leadership, new Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told the public that he would make sure the city’s supervisors complete their legally mandated sexual harassment training. This assertion upset at least one human resources professional, who recently wrote a newspaper column arguing that obeying a long-standing state law is not something to boast about, because compliance isn’t optional.

The law she was referencing is AB 1825, which was passed in 2004 and took effect the following year. If you have received sexual harassment prevention training at work, it was likely because of this law. Government agencies and companies with at least 50 employees are required to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years.

Supervisors’ attendance must be documented and is subject to compliance audit. Anyone who is newly hired as a supervisor or gets promoted into a supervisory position must complete this training within six months of starting in their new position. 

For the vast majority of employees who receive it, sexual harassment prevention training is ultimately a reminder about common-sense behaviors they already practice in their daily interactions with colleagues. Unfortunately, it is often the case that individuals who truly need sexual harassment prevention training are unlikely to seek it out on their own. That’s why California law requires across-the-board compliance. 


Source: Bakersfield Californian, “HOLLY CULHANE: Sexual harassment prevention training not ‘optional’,” Holly Cuhane, Oct. 28, 2013