If you’ve worked in an office environment and also watched “The Office,” you can probably recall a Todd Packer type. They speak in innuendos, find themselves incredibly entertaining, and generally make people around them wish they could disappear.
In “The Office,” there’s one exception: Michael seems to find Todd Packer’s behavior aspirational rather than offensive. Still, coming from the guy who can’t resist an opportunity to drop his, “That’s what she said,” line, this doesn’t bode well for ol’ Todd.
In my experience, most of the problematic people are a little more subtle than Todd Packer, but any level of sexual harassment can negatively impact employees’ well-being and even bring down productivity.
California’s sexual harassment training requirements are meant to prevent the Todd Packers of the world from having a captive, highly-uncomfortable audience in the workplace. Whether there are similar laws in your location or not, sexual harassment prevention really is an important subject. Preventing sexual harassment promotes respect, dignity, and equality.
Key Aspects of California’s Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
- Mandatory Training Requirements: California law mandates employers with five or more employees provide sexual harassment prevention training. All staff, including supervisory and non-supervisory staff, employees and contractors, and even unpaid interns and volunteers. This training is required within the first six months of employment and should be provided every two years after that. The training must consist of at least two hours for supervisors and at least one hour for non-supervisory employees.
- Content/Method of Training: Employers have some liberty in how they choose to conduct the training (using videos, webinars, etc.), but the curriculum must ensure that employees understand what constitutes harassment, how to prevent it, appropriate ways to report an incident, the potential legal consequences for violations, and what role bystanders can play in preventing harassment.
- Purpose: Proper sexual harassment training is designed to equip employees with the knowledge and confidence to identify, address, and report any inappropriate behavior. The idea is to empower individuals to contribute to a healthy work environment and ensure a level of accountability at all levels of the organization. When it works as designed, this ensures workplaces remain free from harassment, discrimination, and toxicity and also promotes a more equitable and productive working environment.
Bottom Line For Employers
Complying with California’s sexual harassment training laws is not just a legal obligation, but also a way to create a respectful and inclusive workplace culture. While we do want to bring a little bit of levity with GIFs from “The Office,” we do know that nothing about sexual harassment is funny.
When you partner with PayReel as the Employer of Record (EOR) on your project, you can be assured we’re on top of sexual harassment training requirements on your behalf. When we hire employees in states with these requirements, workers must take the state’s training, download the certificate, and upload it into PayReel Online so we ensure compliance.
Whether it’s a part of your state’s regulations or not, fostering an environment where employees feel safe and valued reduces a business’s risk of legal disputes, negative publicity, and loss of productivity. In short: just do your part to send the Todds of the world packing.