Last week, on August 30, 2019, Governor Newsom signed SB 778 which delayed the deadline for some employers to train employees about sexual harassment in the workplace.  Here are five items employers must understand about how SB 778 impacts the obligation to provide sexual harassment training to employees:

1. Small employers now have until January 1, 2021 to train all employees.

SB 1343, passed in 2018, requires that an employer with five or more employees must provide two hours of training regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of training to all nonsupervisory employees.  Until SB 778 was signed into law changing the deadline, California employers had until January 1, 2020 to conduct all required sexual harassment prevention training mandated under SB 1343.  SB 778 extends the compliance deadline to train all employees by one year to January 1, 2021.

2. SB 778 does not change the timing requirements for sexual harassment training for supervisors for employers with 50 or more employees.

Employers with 50 or more employees must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees who are employed as of July 1, 2005, and to all new supervisory employees within six months of assuming a supervisory position.  All covered employers must provide sexual harassment training and education to each supervisory employee once every two years.  In 2015, California required that a portion of the training also address “abusive conduct.”  This training requirement is not changed by SB 778 for employers with 50 or more employees.

3. Employees who receive training that complies with the law in 2019 do not need to be retrained for another two years. 

SB 778 clarifies that an employer who has provided sexual harassment training to an employee or supervisor in 2019 is not required to provide refresher training again until two years thereafter.

4. Seasonal and temporary workers must receive training with 30 calendar days or within 100 hours worked, whichever is first.

SB 788 sets forth that beginning January 1, 2020, for seasonal, temporary, or other employees that are hired to work for less than six months, an employer shall provide training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first. In the case of a temporary employee employed by a temporary services employer, which is defined in Section 201.3 of the Labor Code, to perform services for clients, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.

5. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is required to develop free on-line resources for employers to meet the training requirements.

The DFEH is required by the law to “develop or obtain” two online training courses (a two-hour course for supervisors and a one-hour course for employees) that covers the required material set forth in the law.  The DFEH is required to make the online training courses available on its website. In addition, the online courses will contain an interactive feature that requires the viewer to respond to a question periodically in order for the online training courses to continue to play. Any questions during the course must be directed to the trainee’s employer’s Human Resources Department or to an equally qualified professional, rather than the DFEH.  The DFEH was required under SB 1343 to develop this on-line training by the end of 2019, but the DFEH never stated exactly when this on-line training would be made public, and only stated it would be available by “late 2019.”


For employers looking to get a head start on this training, our Firm is offering manager and employee training sessions at our office on September 25, 2019 for managers and on October 2, 2019 for employees (click here for more information), or we can conduct trainings a client’s locations as well.