BY HOWARD FINE
State officials have approved final regulations for the landmark sexual harassment training law and the biggest clarification: The law now applies to larger firms that hire contract workers.
The final regulations were crafted by the Fair Employment and Housing Commission to clarify ambiguities in AB 1825, the sexual harassment training law passed three years ago.
The state Office of Administrative Law on July 18 signed off on the regulations, which were scheduled to go into effect Aug. 17.
AB 1825 was the Legislature’s response to a steady rise in sexual harassment claims and lawsuits during the previous decade; it requires all firms with at least 50 employees to provide anti-sexual harassment training for supervisors.
But left unclear in the law was whether the term “employees” includes contract workers (who file 1099 Forms) or workers located out of state, whether out-of-state supervisors also had to be trained and just what qualifications were required to be a trainer.
A subsequent law clarified the supervisor issue, saying that only supervisors based in the state needed to be trained.
And the Fair Employment and Housing Commission addressed the other issues this year. Besides including contract workers in the definition of employees, the agency said that the 50-employee total also must include out-of-state workers, though out-of-state workers do not need to be trained.
The agency also elaborated on the qualifications for trainers.
Among those who can provide sexual harassment training are attorneys whose practice includes employment law.
Also eligible: human resources professionals or “harassment prevention consultants” who have had experience providing sexual harassment training or responding to or investigating sexual harassment complaints.
Under AB 1825, each supervisor must receive two hours of training every two years, with new supervisors receiving their first training within six months of taking the post.
For more information, including the required content of the training sessions, log on to the Fair Employment and Housing Commission’s Web site at www.fehc.ca.gov.
Howard Fine is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Business Journal, a sister newspaper.