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AB 1825 Sex Harassment Trainer

A free resource for California employers about the sexual harassment training law (AB 1825).

Must all US employers train?

Other than AB 1825 training in California, are employers required to provide anti-harassment training in other states?

One answer is "Yes, if..." and another answer is "No, but...."

The basic federal rule is that employers must take "all reasonable steps" to prevent harassment. In 1998, the US Supreme Court decided two cases (Ellereth and Faragher) that established rules for harassment liability and that offer legal protections to employers if they train employees (i.e., the "affirmative defense" under Title VII). link The California Supreme Court followed with a similar benefit to employers-that-train, allowing them to take advantage of the "avoidable consequences" doctrine. link

Similarly, in the EEOC's guide on an employer's vicarious liability for supervisors' harassment, the EEOC says employers should "affirmatively raise" the topic with (i.e., train) supervisors and employees. link

Training is currently required by statute in California, Connecticut, and Maine, and by case law in New Jersey. Both CA and CT have a "2 hour" requirement.

This suggests a growing consensus that it is probably "reasonable" to provide 2 hours of training (at least) on sexual harassment (at least). After all, CA and CT employers are required to do so, and they're still in business, so that can't be unreasonable, right?

Thus, is anti-harassment training mandatory for all US employers?
  • No, but it is required in some states and provides legal benefits across the US.
  • Yes, if you're in some states or want to take advantage of the "affirmative defense" under federal law, but it's not explicitly required by federal statute or regulation.
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