Various federal regulations and state statutes have set forth specific content requirements for harassment training.  This article addresses the following questions:

  • Should the course address only sexual harassment?
  • Must the training provider monitor changes in the law and update the course?
  • Should the course address only federal law?
  • Should all employees receive the same training content?

Should the course address only sexual harassment?
No.  Consistent with EEOC guidelines, state laws, and court decisions, the course should cover not just sexual harassment, but all forms of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Indeed, while sexual harassment prevention should be a critical component of any training program, there are actually more claims filed each year for harassment based on other characteristics such as race, national origin, and religion.  Courts have ruled that providing only a sexual harassment prevention course will not help you assert a defense to these other types of harassment claims.

Must the training provider monitor changes in the law and update the course?
Absolutely!  Unlike most harassment course providers, Clear Law has in-house legal expertise to ensure that its course is kept up to date with changes in the law. If the law changes so as to change the course instruction, Clear Law will update your course immediately at no cost.  Indeed, in the past three years, Clear Law has changed its course three times because of changes in state laws. You should ask other training providers if they were aware of these required changes and if they made the changes for all clients at no cost.

Should the course address only federal law?
No.  The course should cover not only federal law but also state laws. For example, Clear Law’s Advanced Supervisor version includes specific instruction required by Connecticut law and California’s AB 1825 sexual harassment training law, California’s AB 2053 anti-bullying training law, and California’s SB 396 gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation harassment training law.

Should all employees receive the same training content?
No.  Each employee should receive just the training content that he or she needs.  Clear Law provides the following course versions:

  • Employee version (1 hour)
  • Supervisor version (75 minutes)
  • Advanced Supervisor Version (2 hours: As required by CA and CT law)

Clear Law also offers shorter Employee and Supervisor versions (35 and 40 minutes) for clients who prefer more concise training.  Each course version is available in both English and Spanish.

Learn more about Preventing Harassment at Work or contact us.

About the Author

Michael Johnson, CEO of Clear Law Institute, is a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who brought one of DOJ’s first “pattern or practice” sexual harassment cases. He has provided training and consulting on harassment prevention or investigations to organizations around the world, such as the EEOC, the United Nations, and Google. He is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.  Read more about Michael here. 

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