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New industries required to provide sexual harassment training in CA.

In 2016, California legislators passed new bills designed to protect employees from sexual harassment at the workplace. This new legislation builds on regulation passed more than a decade ago. California's Assembly Bill 18251 mandated training for supervisors working in businesses with 50 employees or more. In subsequent years, the state government has expanded both training requirements and the types of employers responsible to completing exams or tutorials.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the new regulation will cover "an estimated 570,000 additional private-sector workers, the vast majority of whom will be rank-and-file, non-supervisory employees." Those working in these fields will be influenced by these new directives:

1. Farm laborers

New requirements for those working in the agricultural industry extend from management to employees.

An amended section in the California Labor code makes license renewal contingent upon the employer's meeting specific conditions. Farm labor contractors who hire staff to work in the fields must pass an exam to demonstrate their knowledge of sexual harassment legislation, characteristics of sexual harassment in the workplace and methods for halting harassment. When applying for a license renewal, contractors must also provide evidence of having attended nine hours of educational training.

Contractors must verify that their supervisors have participated in yearly training.

Those hired as laborers are also required to be educated on actions that constitute sexual harassment and the legal protection that is extended to victims in California.

2. Janitors

AB 1978, the bill passed to regulate those employed in property services, was established to create a directory of sorts that identifies the 220,000 people hired as janitors throughout the state. An annual updating of employee rosters will be mandated in 2018. Contractors failing to provide records of employees on staff will not be allowed to apply for business contracts until they are compliant with the regulations.

Upon submitting employee information to the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE), those who contract out janitors must provide evidence that they have educated their employees on identifying and stopping sexual harassment.

In subsequent years, the requirements for compliance will develop, culminating with training in preventing sexual harassment.

Although the bill has passed, not all requirements have been fleshed out in the legislation. A curriculum for training is being developed with the guidance of an advisory committee. Standards for training will be revealed after the advisory committee has reviewed input from industry heads.

Look for future posts regarding updates to the bill's directives and any other industries that are brought into the fold for sexual harassment training.

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