How to stay compliant with state regulations for harassment prevention training

Mary Oyerly

In recent years, U.S. regulations for sexual harassment training have emerged in six states. But what does your compliance team need to know to meet the updated requirements?

Currently, harassment training is mandatory for nongovernmental employees in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and New York. Additionally, New York City has its own regulations for a harassment training program. Many other states recommend sexual harassment training or mandate it specifically for certain classifications of employees.

To ensure their compliance programs stay within state regulations, organizations must meet specific content and formatting requirements for harassment training. Let's take an in-depth look at the current standards and what steps compliance teams must take to meet them.

The key standards your training program must meet

Across the six states that currently require a harassment prevention program, compliance training must meet these standards:

  1. Training must be interactive. The program format must give participants opportunities to engage with the material, ask questions and get answers.
  2. Trainers must be qualified. In California, sexual harassment prevention training must be provided by qualified instructors — either HR professionals, harassment prevention consultants or law school professionals with adequate experience.
  3. Training must meet length requirements. The general standard for a harassment prevention program is at least one hour.
  4. Training content must meet quality standards established by state. California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut offer free training videos for employees. However, if a company opts not use these resources, they will need to create videos that meet or exceed the quality and content of the state-sponsored materials.
  5. Employees must receive a record of training. Organizations must maintain auditable records of the training and generate a completion certificate showing that each employee has satisfied program requirements. Some states require these records be maintained for a specific period.

Ensure these elements are a part of your training program

Along with meeting general content and quality standards, compliance teams need to ensure that these key elements are a part of their training programs:

  • Sexual harassment definition under state and federal law
  • Who the law covers, according to state and federal laws
  • Practical examples of sexual harassment
  • Negative effects of harassment
  • How to prevent sexual harassment and abusive conduct
  • How to respond to being the target of harassment
  • Steps a bystander can take to intervene when harassment occurs
  • Role of a supervisor or employer to prevent, promptly and fairly investigate, and correct the situation
  • Resources for resolving complaints administratively and judicially
  • How to file a complaint about sexual harassment and to whom
  • Remedies that may be available, such as cease and desist orders or punitive damages
  • Prohibition against retaliation and examples of what retaliation might look like
  • Liability for employees, employers and supervisors

How Diligent Compliance & Ethics Training can help you stay ahead of regulations

If you need to meet any of these six states' standards, or other regulations for longform training content, you can trust Diligent Compliance & Ethics Training to help.

Along with our microlearning modules and training communication tools, we are now offering longform harassment content to help you comply with state mandates. Our hour-long program meets these states' length, content and quality requirements. Like our microlearning offerings, this option also features an interactive format and opportunities for user participation, including quizzes, videos, additional resources pages and multimedia activities.

To help reinforce positive employee behaviors, we can also help you go above and beyond program regulations with our microlearning content offerings. In case your organization ever faces an investigation for a harassment claim, evidence that you used microlearning as a reinforcement along with longform training can be invaluable. You’ll be able to prove to regulators that you took defensible actions to prevent a harassment claim — by not only meeting minimum requirements but also exceeding them.

With Diligent Compliance & Ethics Training, you can ensure you're covering legal standards while continuing to offer engaging content for users. Interested in learning more about our longform training content? Request a demo today to get started.

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Mary Oyerly
Mary Oyerly, Senior Specialist at Diligent, has experience working across the B2B and B2C SaaS sector and supporting the needs of corporate and not-for-profit business leaders. She has worked extensively with governance technologies and how they can drive improved visibility, efficiency and compliance across the business.