In a previous article, we broke down exactly what was needed to stay compliant with California harassment prevention training. Now, you want to ensure that all the right topics are included. Here’s a question our team gets a lot:

I need to provide sexual harassment training to my California employees so that we’re compliant with all California and Federal laws. I am talking with different companies, both online and live, to compare what they offer. Do you have a checklist of what should be included in the training?

As a company that encourages live and instructor-led training (because studies show they are the most effective and memorable), we understand that sometimes in-person training is just not feasible.  Therefore, here is a checklist of topics you will want to make sure are included in whichever training you ultimately choose.

The following is what the DFEH (California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing) has said must be included:

  • Information and practical guidance regarding federal and state laws concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment;
  • Practical examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation;
  • Information about the prevention of abusive conduct; and
  • The topics of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

In addition, the training should address the following:

  • Your organization’s policy on harassment. The course should focus on sexual harassment, but should also cover all forms of unlawful harassment, such as harassment based on race, religion, disability, etc.
  • The protected classes (including the categories that are unique to California: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression).
  • What harassment is and what it isn’t. And the two distinct types of harassment.
  • If a manager is “mean“, is it a hostile working environment?
  • Bullying (i.e., abusive conduct), and what is the difference between bullying and harassment?
  • Behavior during work, and outside of work that can lead to issues of harassment.
  • What they should do if they see or experience harassment?
  • Tools to assist in preventing harassment.
  • And specifically for Managers/Supervisors: what a manager/supervisor should say (and not say) when an employee reports a potential issue? What are the supervisors’ and managers’ legal requirements in California? And examples of how managers can be held personally liable if they are aware of the harassment and don’t stop it.

It is also helpful if you can customize the training to address your specific needs. Do you have issues with dating, off-premises conduct, jokes, race relations, etc? If so, discuss with the company if they can tailor the course to specifically address those issues.

Make sure the training is not just “black and white” but that it truly covers the “gray areas.” For example, we know we can’t say, “Sleep with me or you are fired.” What we don’t know is the gray area, where sometimes it is okay and sometimes it isn’t — for example, hugging or giving a compliment. The message may be easier, but it is not real life. In real life, there are sometimes hugs and compliments! Therefore, make sure the training will discuss the “gray” areas of huggling, compliments, jokes, dating, etc., so that your team will truly understand what is acceptable and what is risky.

Make sure it isn’t “boring”!  If the training is in-person, did you get a good feeling about the trainer – are they entertaining and engaging?  If the training is on-line, ask to see a trial version of the on-line training first.  What did you think about it?

Lastly, what do you want your employees to understand?  What should be the “take-away”:

  • Although the class complies with the EEOC/DFEH laws regarding harassment, you are training to reinforce your organization’s internal policies.
  • That the training will align with your core values and beliefs, focusing on respect in the workplace.
  • Most importantly, your participants will learn about their responsibilities: what they can do and what they can’t do, to ensure that all your employees feel comfortable, protected and respected at work.

And, of course, make sure that training is given by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

In conclusion, with the law constantly evolving, keeping up with the legal requirements can become a headache for your Human Resources Department. The Compliance Pros is one of the only companies in California offering live, fun and in-person training that is fully compliant with the law. In fact, our team is comprised of attorneys who are legal experts in the field of harassment law.

Therefore, please reach out to me personally at with any questions or give us a call at (310) 597-1600.  Our company offers everything you need to be compliant, including: harassment trainings, HR consulting, and even legal services! And our knowledgable team of experts has over 30 years of combined training experience and has provided over 2500 harassment trainings!

The Compliance Pros – Live Harassment Prevention Training Done Right!