CA Employers Face New Harassment Training Regulations

November 28, 2006 ( - The California Fair Employment and Housing Commission unanimously approved in November the draft of regulations implementing AB 1825, the state's mandatory harassment training law, and if the regulations are approved by the Office of Administrative Law, employers could face sweeping changes to their training programs as soon as February.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports the regulations include a requirement that the training be interactive, a requirement that the training take two hours to complete, and requirements for necessary qualifications and level of expertise of the trainers. In addition, the definition of supervisors is broad and companies may need to extend training for designated managers and supervisors to all employees who may be responsible for any of the personnel decisions contained in the regulations, according to the SHRM report.

The requirement that the training be interactive includes the provision that online courses must contain links permitting employees to contact trainers and ask them questions, and trainers must answer questions within two days. SHRM points out in its report that employers will need to have systems in place to acknowledge receipt of questions and make sure the questions are answered in the required time.

The regulations require harassment trainers to be experienced in training and be experts on the subject. According to SHRM, to be an expert on the subject, the regulations require that the trainer must have practical experience in harassment, discrimination, and retaliation training, and knowledge of relevant California and federal laws.

SHRM points out that, in addition to the February deadline for training program compliance, employers only have until the end of 2007 to get all their supervisors trained.