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FAQ: Harassment prevention training in the United States

Find answers to frequently asked questions about our free harassment prevention training courses backed by American law firm Polsinelli.

Please note that answers to the frequently asked questions are provided for informational purposes only. The responses are general and are not intended as legal advice. For the most accurate and up-to-date information and how it applies to your business, we recommend following the advice of your company’s legal team and checking your own local and state laws.

What is the harassment prevention training about?

To help employees know what behavior is expected from them to create a harassment-free workplace and an environment of respect, we at SafetyCulture partnered with the U.S. law firm, Polsinelli, and created training courses that your team can complete from any device.

Just import the courses you need and assign your team members the correct ones depending on what state they work in and what their role is (supervisor or non-supervisor).

The list of USA Harassment Prevention Training courses in the course library.

All courses are designed to comply with the legal requirements regarding sexual harassment in the workplace for all states in the United States, and they cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Harassment

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Protected Classes

  • Different Types of Sexual Harassment

  • Where Harassment can Occur

  • Third-party Harassment

  • Retaliation

  • Reporting Sexual Harassment

  • External Organizations 

  • Investigation

  • Call To Action

  • Bystander Intervention

Who is the harassment prevention training for?

The harassment prevention training is designed for both non-supervisor and supervisor employees in the United States, and is suitable for organizations of all sizes and industries across all 50 states. Generally, a supervisor is someone who supervises, directs, or evaluates the work of one or more employees (including the management of casual, temporary, or student workers).

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) considers an employee a supervisor if they have the discretion and authority to:

  • hire, transfer, promote, assign, reward, discipline, or discharge other employees, or effectively recommend any of these actions; or

  • act on the grievances of other employees or effectively recommend action on grievances; or

  • direct employee(s)’ daily work activities.

When do you need to provide harassment prevention training?

As a best practice, an employer should provide harassment prevention training to an employee promptly after they're hired. Some jurisdictions require employers to provide harassment prevention training within a certain time period following the beginning of employment.

It's also important to note that employers should regularly retrain employees on harassment prevention to keep the information top of mind. Similar to initial training requirements, some jurisdictions require employers to retrain employees within a certain time frame.

If you're unsure what the time frame requirement to provide initial and ongoing harassment prevention training is for your state, please consult your local or state government or a legal professional for advice.

Frequently asked questions

Harassment based on a protected class status is unlawful in the United States, and U.S. employers have an obligation to take steps to prevent such harassment in their workplace.

As a best practice and as part of an employer’s harassment prevention strategy, U.S. employers should regularly provide harassment prevention training to its employees. Some jurisdictions, such as California and New York, even have laws explicitly requiring employers to provide such training.

Depending on your state's legal compliance requirements, you can choose from 3 versions of Polsinelli's harassment prevention training and import to your organization. Please refer to the following map to find out which version is suitable for your business:

A map indicating the different jurisdictions in the United States that have different harassment prevention training requirements.

  1. Essentials (green): These courses take around 45 minutes cover the majority of states including New York (State and City), Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Rhode Island. Two versions are available for supervisors and employees (non-supervisors) respectively.

  2. Extended (purple): These courses take around 1 hour and are designed for employees (non-supervisors). They meet the specific legal requirements for sexual harassment training in California, Chicago, Maine, and Delaware.

  3. Advanced (blue): These courses take around 2 hours and are intended to be more in-depth. They meet the specific legal requirements for sexual harassment for supervisors in California, Maine, Delaware, Chicago, and Connecticut, as well as employees (non-supervisors) in Connecticut.

Our harassment prevention training is fully reviewed and backed by Polsinelli, an Am Law 100 firm. These courses were created in October 2023 and are intended to comply with the legal requirements in each state. As laws change, we will update the content and alert organizations to any changes.

All other states either encourage or recommend employers provide their employees with harassment prevention training.

Harassment prevention training is often around 1 hour. Some jurisdictions have specific length requirements for training. For example, California and Chicago each require harassment prevention training for all employees to be at least 1 hour and training for supervisors to be at least 2 hours.

We recommend that you create groups or sites and organise your team members based on their location and requirements. For example, you might have a group or site with just supervisors from a particular state.

Once they're added to the groups or sites as members, you can assign each course separately to the respective groups or sites.

You can view and export your team members' training progress and performance in the Performance Dashboard. If you just want to review training completion, you can view course completion by users.

To meet the requirements from states, such as California and Connecticut, we've added a survey slide to the end of each course so users can enter questions about harassment prevention for administrators to answer. Users will be asked to leave their email address so their administrators can reply to them.

If you're a user with Missing Block: INLINES.ENTRY_HYPERLINK, you can view the survey results from each course via the web app.

Yes, users will automatically receive a completion certificate for any harassment prevention course they complete.

If you have Missing Block: INLINES.ENTRY_HYPERLINK, you can view who's been awarded certificates for the courses via the web app.

You can automatically assign your harassment prevention courses to eligible users by setting the courses as mandatory and due within a certain number of days after enrolment. Depending on each user's notification settings, they'll be notified before, on, and after the due date to ensure course completion.

No, it's not possible to customize the logo or overall theme of the harassment prevention courses. As part of our partnership with Polsinelli, who has thoroughly reviewed the training, we've locked the courses from edits to protect your business, as any changes may affect their compliance with state and local laws.

If you have a question or need legal assistance regarding the harassment prevention training, please email edapplawfirm@polsinelli.com.

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