The New Year is always a cause for celebration. Whether you’re toasting to a fantastic fiscal year, or celebrating 365 days without a sexual harassment scandal, New Year’s is a time to look back and pat yourself on the back. But before we raise our glasses and kick off our New Year’s resolutions, we have a few boxes we need to check.
The past two years, 2018 and 2019, were both filled with new legislation your HR team needs to be aware of. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and some very attentive policy makers, these past two legislative sessions have been characterized by bills focused on curtailing hostile workplace issues with state-mandated sexual harassment training requirements. California, Delaware, Illinois, and Washington all have new compliance laws that go into effect on January 1, 2020. We’re going to break them down for you state by state.
SB 1343, signed into law September 30, 2018 by former Governor Jerry Brown, affects all employers with five or more employers. Managerial roles must receive at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training, and non-supervisory employees must receive at least one hour of training. Both managers and non-managers must receive training by classroom, interactive eLearning platforms, or through a live webinar no later than January 1, 2021. This is thanks to a new law which took effect on August 30, 2012 that extended the original deadline of January 1, 2020.
Additionally, following the start of the new year, California employees will be required to train temporary or seasonal employees within 30 calendar days of their start date or within their first 100 hours of work.
Delaware’s new training requirements are less stringent than California’s. On August 29, 2019, Delaware signed into law SB 360. This law, made effective January 1, 2019, requires that employers with over 50 employees provide interactive sexual harassment training and education for all supervisors and employees. For smaller companies, employers need to provide informational materials about sexual harassment to all employees. The new law also specifically defines unlawful sexual harassment as “conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”
Here is where the deadline comes in. Employers must provide training to all employees within one year of their effective start dates. Existing employees are required to receive training no later than January 1, 2020.
At present, there are no training deadlines on January 1, 2020, those come next year. Though these mandates will go into effect on the first of the year. Under SB 75, all Illinois employers are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees every year, regardless of the size of the company. The law was signed into effect recently, August 9, 2019, and requires that training be completed by January 2, 2021.
The law requires that specific content be included in the training, and has other specific mandates for bars, restaurants, hotels, and casinos, along with special requirements for independent contractors. For more in-depth information about Illinois SB 75, read our previous blog post on the topic.
Washington State’s SB was enacted on May 13, 2019; it affects employers in certain industries with at least one employee. Unlike the aforementioned states, Washington’s new law only applies to the retail, hotel, motel, security and property services contractor industries. Effective January 1, 2020, all employers in these industries must adopt harassment prevention policies, provide mandatory training to all managers, supervisors, and employees, and provide employees with a “panic button,” a device that would enable the worker to summon immediate help if necessary.
In addition to these training requirements, some employers are required to provide more thorough reports to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. Employer must submit specific details about who was trained, when they were trained, and the location of the training. January 1, 2020 is the compliance deadline for hotels and motels with over 60 rooms, but all other covered employers must comply by January 1, 2021.
If you have employees in California, Delaware, Illinois, or Washington, you need to look out for these deadlines. Check out our Preventing Workplace Harassment Training Course to see if our solution is right for you. And of course, Happy New Year!