After a career that spans several decades, I am saddened to see that allegations of sexual harassment are still alive and well in our industry. I would have thought that we could have eliminated these challenges by now.
After having completed my Sexual Harassment Prevention training myself just a couple of weeks ago, a program which is mandated by the state of California, it piqued my interest to find out how many states require sexual harassment prevention training. I was shocked to find out that only seven states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New York, Washington) and the District of Columbia mandate sexual harassment training for some or all private sector employers and employees today.
California requires sexual harassment training for all employees. Under the California Code, employers with at least five employees or contractors must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, including supervisory and nonsupervisory employees, every two years. CCR 12950.1.
Even in California, however, a state VERY focused on sexual harassment prevention, employers are NOT required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to independent contractors.
According to the Civil Rights Department of the State of California:
“Do employers need to train independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns?
No, but employers might consider doing so to be a best practice. However, in determining whether an employer meets the threshold of having 5 employees and is subject to the harassment prevention training requirement, independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns are counted. For example, if an employer has 2 full time employees and 6 unpaid interns, the employer will meet the training threshold requirement and would need to ensure the two full time employees receive training.
Just because few states require sexual harassment prevention training and mandates exclude independent contractors doesn’t mean every brokerage, technology company, Association and MLS and consulting firm should not proactively require it.
For Mandate States: If you live in any of the states that mandate sexual harassment prevention training, make sure you are up to speed on the requirements and ensure you and your staff are fully compliant with the specific laws of your state. There are several options to provide FREE training. Some offered by the state government and other providers are available too.
For Non-Mandate States: There is inexpensive online training available you can encourage/require each of your employees and independent contractors to complete. Here are some resources to get you started in your search for the right product for your organization.
Here are some good articles and free resources from the Society of Human Resource Management.
Here are some very inexpensive online training courses:
Behave at Work – $29.95
Clear Law Institute – $10
Pro Trainings – $19.95
FREE Harassment Policy Language:
It goes without saying that every one of us must take responsibility for creating an environment where inappropriate behavior is not tolerated.
Every one of us need to do our part to eliminate sexual harassment forever.