Sexual Harassment Training Laws

Click to jump directly to the training laws in your city/state:

CALIFORNIA

CONNECTICUT

DELAWARE

ILLINOIS

LOUSIANA

MAINE

MARYLAND

NEW JERSEY

NEW YORK CITY

NEW YORK STATE

VERMONT

VIRGINIA

 

Here is the full list of laws by state, in alphebetical order:
CALIFORNIA

Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees by Jan. 1, 2020

Main points for employers

  • Employers with at least five employees, in order to comply with the new requirements, must provide by Dec. 31, 2019: (1) at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all managerial employees and (2) at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all nonmanagerial employees. 
  • After the 2019 compliance requirements are met, employers must provide training every two years at minimum.   
  • Training must occur within six months of hire to a nonmanagerial position or promotion to a managerial position (including hiring) as applicable.
  • Newly created businesses with five or more employees or contractors must provide training within six months of the business’ establishment and then every two years thereafter.
  • Part-time, temporary and independent contractors must be included toward the minimum count of five employees.
  • The training may be conducted as a group presentation or on an individual basis and may be broken into shorter time segments as long as the two-hour requirement for managerial employees and one-hour requirement for nonmanagerial employees are met.
  • Employees hired after Jan. I, 2020, who received training by a previous employer need only be required to read and acknowledge receipt of the employer’s anti-harassment policy within six months of assuming the new position. The burden of establishing that the prior training was legally compliant with this section is on the current employer.

Training for seasonal and temporary employees

Also by the January 2020 deadline, employers must provide training to temporary and seasonal employees, as well as any employee who is hired to work for less than six months. The training must occur within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. In the case of temporary employees employed by an agency (as defined by Lab. Code sec. 2810.3) to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the agency, not the client.

Training formats

Employers can satisfy this training by offering classroom training, e-learning or webinars as described here.

Classroom training: In-person classroom training that features content created by a trainer. The employees may receive the training from a trainer in a setting that is removed from the employees’ daily duties. California law in CCR sec. 11024(a)(9) specifically defines the credentials that a qualified trainer must possess. 

E-learning: Individualized, interactive and computer-based training that was created by a trainer and an instructional designer. Employees must have the opportunity to ask a trainer questions and receive a response within two business days.

Webinar: An internet-based seminar that features content created and taught by a trainer and that is transmitted over the internet in real time. Employers who use a webinar for training must document that each employee who is not physically present in the same room as the trainer attended the training. They must also document that the employee actively participated in the training’s interactive content, discussion questions, hypothetical scenarios, polls, quizzes or tests and activities. Webinars must provide employees with the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers to those questions or otherwise seek guidance and assistance.

The regulations also authorize other effective, interactive training — including audio, video or other computer technology — but only if used along with, and as a supplement to, classroom, webinar or e-learning training.

Any training must explain:

  • 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 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;
  • “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).
  • Discuss harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, which shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
  • Finally, any training must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.

Record-keeping requirements

To track compliance, employers must keep documentation for a minimum of two years and be able to provide copies upon request.
The training record must include all of the following minimum information:

  • The name of the supervisor who received training
  • The training type and date
  • The attendance sign-in sheet
  • A copy of all certificates of attendance or completion issued
  • A copy of all written or recorded materials that comprise the training
  • The training provider’s name

In addition to the above, specific documentation requirements for both trainers and employers are mandated for e-learning and webinar training:

  • E-learning: The trainer must maintain all written questions received and all written responses or guidance provided for a period of two years after the date of the response.
  • Webinars: The employer must maintain a copy of the webinar, all written materials used by the trainer and all written questions submitted during the webinar. The employer must also document all written responses or guidance the trainer provided during the webinar. 

CONNETICUT

Beginning on October 1, 2019, all Connecticut employers will have to provide mandatory sexual harassment training. For employers with three or more employees, they must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. For existing employees, this training must be provided by October 1, 2020. All employees hired on or after October 1, 2019, must receive the training within six months of hire.

For employers with three or fewer employees, including family businesses where an individual is employed by a spouse, parent or child, sexual harassment training is required for all supervisory employees. This training must be provided by October 1, 2020, or within six months of an employee assuming a supervisory role.

Failure to provide the training as required will be considered a “discriminatory practice,” and will be subject to fines up to $1000, although it is unclear whether this fine will be imposed on a per-employee basis.

The content of the training shall include the following:

  • Describing all federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace with which the employer is required to comply, including, but not limited to, the Connecticut discriminatory employment practices statute (section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. section 2000e, and following sections);
  • Defining sexual harassment as explicitly set forth in subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes and as distinguished from other forms of illegal harassment prohibited by subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes and section 3 of Public Act 91-58;
  • Discussing the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under the law, including the fact that the harasser or the victim of harassment may be either a man or a woman and that harassment can occur involving persons of the same or opposite sex;
  • Describing the remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including, but not limited to, cease and desist orders; hiring, promotion or reinstatement; compensatory damages and back pay;
  • Advising employees that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties; and
  • Discussing strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Littler


DELAWARE

Employers in Delaware with 50 or more employees (not including applicants or independent contractors) must provide all employees with interactive training and education on the prevention of sexual harassment. Employers do not need to provide training to applicants, independent contractors or employees who are employed less than six months continuously. Employment agencies must “count and provide training to employees placed by” such agencies.

Employers covered by the training requirement must meet the following requirements:

  • They must provide employees with interactive training and education on the prevention of sexual harassment.
  • Training must be conducted for new employees within one year of the commencement of their employment. Existing employees must receive sexual-harassment training within one year of the effective date of the statute (that is, by Jan. 1, 2020).
  • The training topics must:
    • Address the illegality of sexual harassment.
    • Define sexual harassment with examples.
    • Describe the legal remedies and complaint process available to the employee.
    • Direct employees on how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor.
    • Instruct employees that retaliation is prohibited.
  • New supervisors must receive additional interactive training within one year of the commencement of their employment in a supervisory role. Existing supervisors must receive training by Jan. 1, 2020.
  • This supplemental training must cover the specific responsibilities of a supervisor in preventing and correcting sexual harassment as well as the legal prohibition against retaliation.
  • These employee and supervisor training programs must be repeated every two years.

Source: SHRM


ILLINOIS 

Sexual harassment prevention training shall be provided to all employees on an annual basis. This training be interactive and, at a minimum, include the following:

  • an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with this Act;
  • examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
  • an explanation of harassment based on sex consistent with this Act;
  • examples of conduct that constitute unlawful harassment based on sex;
  • a summary of federal and state statutory provisions concerning harassment based on sex, sexual harassment, and all remedies available to victims of sexual harassment or harassment based on sex;
  • a summary of employees’ rights and available remedies and forums to adjudicate complaints;
  • examples of appropriate and inappropriate conduct by supervisors;
  • and a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and adjudication of sexual harassment.

Every employer, regardless of company size, is required to establish a training program for employees and supervisors to prevent sexual harassment that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided.

Source: Illinois State Law


LOUSIANA

In 2018 Louisiana implemented mandatory training requirements for public servants:

  •  Each public employee and/or elected official must receive a minimum of one hour of education and training on preventing sexual harassment each year;
  •  Supervisors and employees designated to accept or investigate complaints must receive additional training. 
  • The training can be either in person or via the internet.
  • Each agency must also maintain public records of each employee and official’s compliance with the training requirement. 

Source: Louisiana State Legislature


MAINE

In workplaces with 15 or more employees, employers shall conduct an education and training program for all new employees within one year of commencement of employment.

Training provided under this subsection must include:

  • the illegality of sexual harassment;
  • the definition of sexual harassment under state and federal laws and federal regulations, including the Maine Human Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code, Title VII, Sections 2000e to 2000e-17;
  • a description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples;
  • the internal complaint process available to the employee;
  • the legal recourse and complaint process available through the commission;
  • directions on how to contact the commission;
  • and the protection against retaliation as provided under Title 5, section 4553, subsection 10, paragraph D.

Employers shall conduct additional training for supervisory and managerial employees within one year of commencement of employment that includes, at a minimum, the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and methods that these employees must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.

Source: Maine Human Rights Commission


MARYLAND

As of 2018, each State employee shall complete at least a cumulative 2 hours of in-person or virtual, interactive training on sexual harassment prevention within 6 months after the employee’s initial appointment, and every 2-year period thereafter.

The training must include:

  • information on the federal and State laws
  • best practices in prevention and correction of sexual harassment, abusive conduct, and retaliation;
  • remedies and procedures available to victims of sexual harassment in employment; and
  • additional training for supervisors regarding information onproperly responding to complaints of sexual harassment and preventing further abuse and retaliation; and creating and maintaining a workplace culture in which sexual harassment is not tolerated

NEW JERSEY

Under the legislation, beginning in Feburary 2021, all employers in New Jersey would be required to provide all employees interactive training on preventing unlawful workplace harassment and discrimination. After the initial training, all employees would be required to be retrained at least once every two years.

 

The training must cover the following topics, which must also be included in the employer’s written non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies:

  • Definitions of unlawful discrimination and harassment based on protected categories under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)
  • Examples of discriminatory and harassing conduct prohibited by law
  • A statement that unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace is not tolerated and is considered a form of employee misconduct
  • A statement that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in such misconduct, as well as against supervisory employees who knowingly allow such behavior to continue
  • Description of potential consequences for violating the policy
  • Statement that these policies apply to all employees in interactions with other employees as well as with vendors, suppliers, customers, clients, and patrons
  • Statement of the employer’s commitment to conducting prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations of complaints of discrimination or harassment
  • Explanation of bystander intervention
  • Description of the process and contact information for filing internal complaints
  • Information on how to contact the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights to file a complaint of, or seek advice regarding discrimination or harassment
  • Prohibition on retaliation against those who disclose, report, participate in an investigation of, or otherwise challenge such discrimination or harassment and examples of retaliatory conduct prohibited by the policy
  • Statute of limitations periods applicable to filing a claim of unlawful discrimination and harassment under the NJLAD

Source: NJ Division on Human Rights


NEW YORK CITY

Employers with 15 or more employees are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. Effective April 2019, employers have one year to implement the training for all employees and must ensure all employees are trained annually thereafter. It must include the following elements:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
  • A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
  • A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
  • Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
  • The complaint process available through the Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information;
  • The prohibition of retaliation including examples;
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.

Employers shall keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgment. These may be kept electronically.


NEW YORK STATE

Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training. The training must:

  • be interactive
  • include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
  • include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
  • include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment
  • include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints
  • include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors

Each employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018.


VERMONT

Vermont enacted legislation to allow the state Attorney General or the Human Rights Commission to inspect employers for compliance with sexual harassment laws and, if the Attorney General or Commission deems it necessary, require an employer, to provide an annual education and training program to all employees or to conduct an annual, anonymous climate survey, or both, for a period of up to three years.

Source: State of Vermont Human Rights Commission and NWLC’s 2020 Progress Update


VIRGINIA

Requires every employer with 15 or more employees to conduct a sexual harassment education and training program for all new employees within one year of commencement of employment. The training shall encompass:

  •  the illegality of sexual harassment; 
  • the definition of sexual harassment under state and federal laws and federal regulations;
  •  a description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples; 
  • the employer’s sexual harassment complaint process available to the employee; 
  • legal recourse and complaint processes; 
  • and protections against retaliation. 

Such employers are also required to conduct additional training for all supervisors and managers within one year of assuming their supervisory or managerial positions. The Department of Labor and Industry is required to develop a compliance checklist for employers to use to develop a sexual harassment training program; employers shall keep a record of the training. Any employer who violates these requirements is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each violation.

Source: Virginia’s Legislative Information System