Delaware’s new sexual harassment training ;aw mandates that all employers with four or more employees provide an informative overview of sexual harassment. Also, stipulated, is that companies with 50 or more employees are now required to provide sexual harassment training for all employees and managers. Delaware is now the fifth state to mandate sexual-harassment training, in a no-nonsense state curriculum. This new Delaware law will become effective on Jan. 1, 2019.
Delaware’s Sexual Harassment Guidelines:
Delaware’s new law specifies that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, is simply against the law, & will no longer be tolerated.
This law makes an employer liable for acts of sexual harassment for the following areas:
- The employer knew of sexual misconduct and failed to take corrective measures.
- Sexual Harassment by a manager results in a “negative employment action” or retaliation against an employee.
- Employer’s purposely creating an environment of employee retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint or testifying in any proceeding about harassment related issues.
“Negative employment action” is specifically defined to mean any “action taken by a supervisor that negatively impacts the employment status of an employee.” While court interpretation is very specific, this definition could theoretically cover a wide range of employer decisions, perhaps wider than currently encompassed by the federal laws.
Under the Delaware law, an “employee” is “an individual employed by a company and includes state employees, unpaid interns, and new hires.” Delaware specific statute’s for unpaid interns and applicants are quite different than the sexual-harassment laws of other states.
Most states have laws suggesting that employers provide employee-harassment training to their employees, the key word here is suggesting. Now, Delaware joins the elite list of states requiring sexual-harassment training.
Under this new law, companies in Delaware with 50 or more employees must provide all employees with interactive or online training on the prevention of sexual harassment. This new law explicitly excludes applicants and independent contractors from this requirement. Also, companies need not provide training to applicants, independent contractors or employees who are employed less than six months continuously.
Companies covered by this training requirement must meet the following requirements:
- The company shall provide all employees with interactive training and the prevention of sexual harassment.
- Within one year of the commencement of their employment, employee’s must receive this training format. Existing employees must receive sexual-harassment training within one year of the effective date of the statute (that is, by Jan. 1, 2020).
- The Sexual Harassment training must:
- Discuss the illegality of sexual harassment.
- Define & role-play with specific sexual harassment examples.
- Describe the specific complaint process available to the employee.
- Direct employees on how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor.
- Training must include educational material describing that Delaware now has a “zero-tolerance” for any harassment issues, and that employee retaliation is strictly prohibited.
- New managers must receive additional interactive training within one year of their employment in a supervisory role. Current supervisors must receive training by Jan. 1, 2020.
- This additional training must cover the specific responsibilities of a supervisor in preventing and correcting sexual harassment.
- This manager/supervisor training curriculum must be repeated every two years.
Harassment Notice Requirement:
This new law, states that Delaware employers must give notice to employees of their right to be free from harassment at work, zero-tolerance, with written material supplied by the Delaware state Department of Labor. Employers must distribute the information sheet, either physically or electronically. Employers must provide the notice to existing employees by July 1, 2019.
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