Team Management

A Snapshot of State and City Requirements for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Maggie Smith Vice President of Human Resources at Traliant 
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Do you operate in an area that requires employers to provide training to prevent workplace sexual harassment? The following states and cities have legislation mandating that organizations provide anti-harassment training to employees and supervisors. Here’s a snapshot:

California

All California employers with five or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees. The mandate has been in effect since January 1, 2019.

Within six months of onboarding, nonsupervisory employees must complete at least one hour of training, while supervisory employees are required to complete at least two hours of training within six months of assuming a supervisory role. Temporary employees must complete training within 30 days of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. 

Training must include:

  • Definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Types of conduct considered sexual harassment, including examples
  • Remedies available for victims of sexual harassment
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment
  • 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
  • Elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it

The training must be repeated every two years.

View the law

Connecticut

Connecticut employers of any size are required to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors. Employers with three or more employees must provide at least two hours of training for all employees. The mandate has been in effect since October 1, 2019.

Supervisors are required to complete training within 6 months of assuming a supervisory role, while employees must complete training within 6 months of hire. 

Training must include:

  • Descriptions of federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Definition of sexual harassment set forth by Connecticut law
  • Types of conduct that can constitute sexual harassment under applicable law
  • Remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including cease and desist orders; hiring, promotion, or reinstatement; compensatory damages and back pay
  • Advice that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to civil and criminal penalties
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

Training must be repeated every 10 years, although the state recommends that refresher training be provided every three years.

View the law

Delaware

Delaware employees with 50 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees and supervisors within one year of being hired or promoted into a supervisory role. The mandate has been in effect since January 1, 2019.

Training must include: 

  • The illegality of sexual harassment
  • Definition of sexual harassment with examples
  • Legal remediation and compliant process
  • How employees can contact the Delaware Department of Labor
  • Legal protections against retaliation

Training must be repeated every two years.

View the law

Illinois

On January 1, 2020, Illinois mandated that all employers provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees as soon as possible. Additionally, restaurant and bar employees must receive supplemental training in English and Spanish.

Training must include:

  • Definition of sexual harassment
  • Examples of conduct that constitute unlawful sexual harassment
  • A statement that it is the employer’s responsibility to prevent, investigate and address sexual harassment
  • A summary of federal and state laws addressing sexual harassment, including available remedies for victims of harassment
  • Supplemental training for restaurants and bars must include:
    • The prohibition on sexual harassment
    • The definition of sexual harassment
    • Details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment 
    • An explanation of the internal complaint process available to employees
    • How to contact and file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    • Protections from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations

Training must be repeated annually.

View the law

Chicago

A new ordinance effective July 1, 2022, mandates all Chicago employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training and bystander training to their workforce. 

All employees must complete 1 hour of sexual harassment training and one hour of bystander training. Supervisors and managers are required to complete two hours of sexual harassment training and one hour of bystander training.

Training must include: 

  • A definition of sexual harassment as defined by the city’s Municipal Code
  • A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago
  • Examples of sexual harassment
  • Details on how an employee can report an allegation of sexual harassment
  • Information about legal services, including government agencies, that are available to employees who may become victims of sexual harassment
  • A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago

Training must be completed annually. The city has given employers until June 30, 2023 to complete the initial training mandate, however this does not count towards the 2023 training requirement.

View the law

Maine

All employers in Maine with 15 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees and supervisors within one year of being hired or promoted to a supervisory position. The mandate has been in effect since November 1, 2017.

Training must include:

  • The illegality of sexual harassment
  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Maine Human Rights Law and federal law
  • A description of sexual harassment, using examples
  • The internal complaint process available to the employee
  • The legal recourse and complaint process available from the Maine Human Rights Commission and directions on how to contact the commission
  • Information about retaliation protections
  • Actions that supervisory and managerial employees must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints

No specific time is given for training frequency.

View the law

New York State

All New York employers are required to provided sexual harassment prevention training to employees as soon as possible. The mandate has been in effect since April 12, 2018.

Training must include:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the New York Department of Labor and the New York Department of Human Resources
  • Examples of unlawful sexual harassment
  • Information concerning federal and New York statutes on sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
  • Information concerning employees’ rights and all available forums for adjudicating complaints

Training must be repeated annually.

View the law

New York City

New York City employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment training. Employees must complete the training within 90 days of being hired. The mandate has been in effect since April 1, 2019.

Training must include:

  • A description of sexual harassment, with examples
  • An explanation of sexual harassment under New York City law
  • A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under New York and federal law
  • The internal complaint process available to employees to address sexual harassment claims
  • The complaint process available from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York Department of Human Resources, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information
  • A statement that retaliation is prohibited, with examples
  • Information regarding bystander intervention, including resources explaining how to engage in bystander intervention
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in preventing sexual harassment and retaliation and actions they can take to address sexual harassment complaints

Training must be repeated annually.

View the law

Washington State

Washington requires all hotel, motel, retail, security guard entities, or property services contractors that employ an “employee” to provide sexual harassment training as soon as possible. The mandate has been in effect since April 1, 2019.

An “employee” is defined as an individual who spends a majority of their working hours alone, or whose primary work responsibility involves working without another coworker present, and who is employed by an employer as a janitor, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper, or room service attendant.

Training must include:

  • Preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Preventing sexual discrimination in the workplace
  • Protections for employees who report violations of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation

No specific time is given for training frequency.

View the law

Beyond meeting local and state requirements, effective harassment prevention training should reflect your organization’s industry and culture, putting policies and practices into real-world context so that employees can apply what they learned to foster a respectful, inclusive and ethical workplace.

Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith Traliant creates engaging and effective compliance training courses that help organizations stay up to date on workplace requirements and expectations, instill respect and understanding in employee interactions, and enable employees to be their best selves at work.
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