Q. Are employers required to provide sexual harassment training to supervisory employees?

A. Yes, in 2004 Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1825 into law, making sexual harassment training mandatory for all employers with 50 or more employees (including independent contractors, part-time employees and temporary workers). This new law generally requires that all supervisory employees receive at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training during the 2005 calendar year. After January 1, 2006, supervisory employees must receive training once every other year and newly hired or promoted supervisory employees must receive training within six months of assuming the supervisory position.

The training must be interactive and include information and practical guidance regarding federal and state laws that prohibit sexual harassment. For example, web-based training that is not interactive will not comply with the law. The training must provide information regarding the prohibition against sexual harassment, the prevention and correction of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. Practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation must also be provided.

The law specifically requires that the training be presented by trainers with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The selection of a qualified trainer is critical not only to comply with the law, but also to ensure that this topic is addressed thoroughly, appropriately and in compliance with this new legal requirement.