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Are You Compliant?

Anti-Harassment Training Deadline Approaching

By Theresa Kiehn | Acting President and CEO, AgSafe
Published: December 3, 2020 • 604 views


The clock is ticking as the time has come for California businesses with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training for their employees. California’s SB 1343 requires employers to provide one-hour training for non-supervisory employees and two hours of training for supervisors every two years. However, please note that farm labor contractors are the exception to this rule and are required to provide supervisors training on an annual basis to comply with California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The original deadline to provide this training to employees was Jan. 1, 2020, however Governor Newsom extended this deadline to Jan. 1, 2021 with the passage of SB 778.

This new regulation makes a few assumptions such as that your business already has in place an anti-harassment policy. If your company does not have a policy created, time is of the essence and it is urgent to get one established. If you do have your policy, it would be an opportune time to review it and ensure it meets current regulatory standards. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which is the state agency with regulatory oversight on this issue, mandates written policies contain the following elements:

  • List all protected groups under the California DFEH.
  • Indicate that the law prohibits coworkers and third parties, including supervisors and managers with whom the employee comes into contact, from engaging in prohibited harassment.
  • Create a complaint process that ensures confidentiality to the extent possible, a timely response, an impartial and timely investigation by qualified personnel, documentation and tracking for reasonable progress, appropriate options for remedial actions and resolutions, and timely closures.
  • Provide a complaint mechanism that does not require an employee to complain directly to their immediate supervisor. That complaint mechanism must include but is not limited to including: provisions for direct communication, either orally or in writing, with a designated company representative; and/or a complaint hotline; and/or access to an ombudsperson; and/or identification of the DFEH and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as additional avenues for employees to lodge complaints.
  • Instruct supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager, so that the company can try to resolve the claim internally.
  • Indicate that when the employer receives allegations of misconduct, it will conduct a fair, timely and thorough investigation that provides all parties appropriate due process and reaches reasonable conclusions in a timely basis based on the evidence collected.
  • Make clear that employees shall not be retaliated against because of making a complaint or participating in an investigation.
  • In addition to ensuring your company policy is compliant, employers are also required to provide their employees with a copy of California’s DEFH 185 pamphlet and post a copy of the Department’s employment posters entitled “California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment” and “Transgender Rights in the Workplace”. Additionally, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s poster “Equal Opportunity is the Law” should also be posted for employees to review.
  • Employee training is required to include information and practical guidance regarding both federal and state regulations. Additionally, it should include examples of prohibited conduct and provide information on how to prevent abusive conduct and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identify and gender expression. Training must be conducted within six months of an individual being hired, and employers are required to retain training documentation as well as the materials utilized to train employees for at least two years. Training can take place in a classroom setting, online or in any other effective, interactive format in a language that employees understand and comprehend. For more information on DFEH, please visit www.dfeh.ca.gov.
  • For a successful anti-harassment program, it is imperative that your management team makes this issue a priority within your operation. Investing time into reviewing your company policy and agency regulations as well as ensuring you are providing quality training experience with your employees will demonstrate your commitment to a safe work environment. It is also equally important to take employee complaints seriously, complete a timely and thorough investigation and take appropriate disciplinary actions as necessary. If you should need guidance or assistance with developing your program, training or incident investigations, please do not hesitate to contact the AgSafe office for help.
  • AgSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit providing training, education, outreach and tools in the areas of safety, labor relations, food safety and human resources for the food and farming industries. For more information please visit www.agsafe.org, call (209) 526-4400 or email
    safeinfo@agsafe.org.