Legal :: Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws in California, Connecticut, and Maine (Page 1 of 2)

While each of the states' laws designates which companies must provide harassment training, Maine requires the training at companies of only 15 employees or more. California's mandatory sexual harassment law (AB 1825) provides detailed requirements for harassment training - requirements far more stringent than those of Connecticut and Maine. Both California and Connecticut specify that companies employing 50 or more employees conduct the training. Maine requires no documentation of sexual harassment training, while Connecticut simply encourages documentation. Both California and Connecticut require training for employees with supervisory authority only, while Maine's law requires sexual harassment training for all employees, regardless of their positions. Instead, employers must invest their resources in anchor highly trained professionals with both the knowledge and skills to effectively train and assess participants.

In many areas, however, Maine's mandatory harassment training is more lenient. In addition to basic documentation that includes the names of the participants and trainers, AB 1825 requires an employer to give each supervisor a copy of its anti-harassment policy and to obtain documentation from each supervisor acknowledging receipt of the policy. California law, however, includes stringent details describing trainer qualifications. "It puts education on the front burner and acknowledges it as any company's best defense against sexual harassment claims." . In this instance, Maine's law is more stringent than the other two states. Qualified personnel include the following only: attorneys; Human Resources professionals; harassment prevention consultants; or law school or college professors with knowledge and experience in the prevention and/or handling of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims.

Though all states have laws prohibiting sexual harassment on the job, California, Connecticut, and Maine take the step from reactive to proactive by mandating training for supervisors to prevent sexual harassment before it begins. Again California holds its employers and supervisors to a new level of accountability. While the three states' training measures are similar, there are also significant differences in the specifics. "AB 1825 calls us to a new level of accountability that will undoubtedly influence sexual harassment laws across the nation," said Stephen Paskoff, president of Employment Learning Innovations, Inc., a workplace training firm based in Atlanta. The company must then maintain the documentation for two years.

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Paskoff said that "by raising the bar on trainer qualifications, California sends a clear message to employers: check the box training is no longer acceptable." A paragraph in an employee handbook, a reminder in a newsletter, an obligatory lecture at a department meeting - none of these constitute sexual harassment training. For instance, Maine does not specify the qualifications of a trainer; individual companies are at liberty to choose trainers. Connecticut allows a great deal of latitude by designating trainers as individuals california state bar association attorney search employed by the company or other persons who agree to provide the training.

In addition to trainer qualifications, Maine is also more lenient in the areas of documentation. In contrast, California and Connecticut require qualified trainers. Maine is also more stringent is designating which employees must complete the training. In contrast, California requires it