California employers having at least fifty employees must provide all supervisory employees located in California with at least two hours of classroom or “interactive” training regarding sexual harassment prevention and correction. This fifty employee requirement includes employees in other states, not just California. The training must be provided at least once every two years. Also, new supervisory employees must receive training within six months after being hired. [See Gov.C. § 12950.1(a),(c)].
Sexual harassment training does not automatically negate the employer’s liability in a sexual harassment case. Also, a supervisor’s failure to receive this training does not by itself subject the employer to such liability. [Gov.C. § 12950.1(d)]. However, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission may issue an order requiring the employer to comply. [Gov.C. § 12950(e)]. Noncompliance is also bad practice not only because of the obvious potential benefits of the training, but also because it shows the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring as required by Gov.C. § 12940(k).
The term “supervisory employee” is not defined in the statute and it is not clear whether it has the same meaning as “supervisor.” But, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, “supervisor” includes anyone having the responsibility to hire, fire or direct other employees’ work activities, using independent judgment. [See Gov.C. § 12926(s)]. The law in California does not require that the supervisor be the harassment victim’s supervisor, but merely a supervisor within the company.