Please note: This content is not a substitute for legal advice, nor does it contain every detail or requirement of the applicable laws. It’s provided solely to inform and not intended as a standalone resource. If you have questions about these laws or their implications for your organization, please consult your legal counsel.

Across the United States, state and city leadership are beginning to recognize the disastrous effects of harassment in the workplace — and finding ways to keep it at bay. While employers are not explicitly required to provide harassment prevention training under federal law, the EEOC states that training is one of the core principles for preventing workplace harassment.

Regardless, sexual harassment training requirements vary by state and can be tough to unravel in today’s remote workplaces. How do you know which training is required — and for who?! (Trust us, this isn’t something you want to guess at.)

Let’s explore what the legal requirements look like for your specific location. But first…

What is sexual harassment training?

Sexual harassment training teaches learners how to prevent, recognize, and report (and ideally prevent) sexual harassment in the workplace.

Federal employment harassment and discrimination laws state that race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), disability, genetic information, and age (for employees aged 40 or above) are all protected groups. Sexual harassment prevention courses provide examples of what sexual harassment can look like, and how it can be avoided.

Sexual harassment training also teaches learners relevant anti-harassment rules and regulations, so they know their rights and responsibilities. Not only can it help protect employees from harmful experiences in the workplace, required anti-harassment training can also help shield your business from fines, legal recourse, and loss of employee trust.

Does your state require sexual harassment training? Check out the course trailer for Ethena’s Harassment Prevention course.

Which states require sexual harassment training?

Things get tricky when your state and/or city determine harassment prevention standards that differ from the cities or states around it. You may be wondering, “Which states require sexual harassment training? Does it apply to my workplace?” Well, here’s the short answer: California, Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Maine, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C. all require sexual harassment training to some extent. The long answer is, it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

At Ethena, we think it’s best when harassment prevention training is taken very seriously (and with some seriously fun training, to boot). But we also get that the overlapping requirements can be pretty difficult to understand on your own.

To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together this handy list of sexual harassment training requirements by state to help you understand what your hometown requires.

Alabama

Sexual harassment training in the workplace is not legally mandated in Alabama, but it is strongly encouraged by the EEOC to create a safe workplace for every employee.

Lack of training guidelines aside, Ala. Code § 25-1-21 prohibits harassment and discrimination based on age.

Alaska

While there is no sexual harassment training requirement in Alaska, the Alaska Human Rights Law prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability, marital status, national origin (including ancestry), parenthood, race, religion, and sex (including pregnancy).

Arizona

Sexual harassment training in Arizona is not specifically required by state legislation, but EEOC guidelines have made clear that employers should provide workplace harassment training to all employees.

The Arizona Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age (40+), disability, genetic information, national origin, race, religion or creed, or sex (including pregnancy and related conditions). 

Arkansas

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Arkansas, but the Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected characteristics including color, disability, national origin (including ancestry), race, religion, and sex/gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions).

Additionally, the Arkansas Genetic Information in the Workplace Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information.

California

Sexual harassment training in California is required by Cal. Gov. Code 12950.1 & CCR Section 11024.

Who’s required to provide training? California employers with five or more employees, including temporary or seasonal employees.

What’s required? Employers must provide sexual harassment training every two years (two hours for supervisors, one hour for non-supervisors). New employees and promoted supervisors must receive this training within the first six months of hire or promotion.

What does training need to cover? Information and practical guidance regarding federal and state law concerning the prohibition against, as well as the prevention and correction of, sexual harassment. Training also needs to include information about the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. The training must also include practical examples of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, as well as information about preventing abusive conduct and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Colorado

Though Colorado may not have specific harassment prevention training guidelines, both the Colorado Fair Employment Practices Act and the recently enacted POWR Act provide comprehensive directives and definitions regarding harassment and discrimination. These acts prohibit discrimination and harassment based on various protected characteristics, including: age (40+), race, religion, and marital status, setting a new threshold for what constitutes actionable harassment.

Connecticut

Training required? Yes, by Time’s Up Act (Public acts 19-16 and 19-93).

Who’s required to provide training? Connecticut employers with three or more employees, as well as all Connecticut employers who employ supervisory employees.

What’s required? Employers must provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all employees and supervisors every 10 years. New employees and promoted supervisors must receive this training within the first 6 months of hire or promotion.

What does training need to cover? Federal and state sexual harassment laws, and the remedies available to those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Delaware

Training required? Yes, by 19 Del. Code 711A (g).

Who’s required to provide training? Delaware employers with more than 50 employees.

What’s required? Employers must provide sexual harassment training every two years. New employees and promoted supervisors must receive this training within one year of their hire or promotion.

What does training need to cover? The illegality of sexual harassment and the definition of sexual harassment using examples of sexual harassment in the workplace. Training must also include how to contact the Delaware Department of Labor, legal remedies available to those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, what workplace retaliation looks like, as well as the complaint process available. Supervisors must also receive training about their responsibilities regarding the prevention and correction of sexual harassment, and an explanation that retaliation is unlawful and prohibited.

Florida

A sexual harassment prevention training program for employees is not currently mandated in Florida.

However, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (ss. 760.01-760.11) does secure freedom from discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. The law is designed to protect personal dignity and promote the rights of state residents.

Georgia

Despite the fact that sexual harassment guidelines are not required in Georgia, the Georgia Age Discrimination Act prohibits age discrimination in the workplace (ages 40-70).

Furthermore, the Georgia Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities Code restricts disability discrimination.

Hawaii

Sexual harassment training in the workplace is not legally mandated in Hawaii. However, HRS §12-46-109 protects workers from sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination.

Currently, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is also encouraging lawmakers to require workplace prevention programs and sexual harassment training for employees.

Idaho

Even though harassment training isn’t required in Idaho, the Idaho Human Rights Act prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on protected characteristics. The Idaho Human Rights Commission also recommends that employers provide sexual harassment prevention training.

Illinois

Training required? Yes, by 775 ILCS 5/2-105 as amended by Public Act 101-0221.

Who’s required to provide training? All Illinois employers with employees working in Illinois (with limited exceptions), including restaurants and bars.

What’s required? Employers must provide harassment and discrimination training annually to all employees, including additional supplemental sexual harassment training for employees of restaurants and bar.

What does training need to cover? An explanation of sexual harassment, examples of conduct that constitute unlawful sexual harassment, as well as remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. Training should also include a summary of federal and Illinois laws concerning sexual harassment, and a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment. Restaurants and bars have supplemental training requirements to those listed here.

Chicago, IL

Training required? Yes, by the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance.

Who’s required to provide training? All Chicago employers.

What’s required? Employers must provide annual sexual harassment training (2 hrs for supervisors/managers, 1 hr for non-supervisors), as well as 1 hour of bystander training.

What does training need to cover? An explanation of sexual harassment, examples of conduct that constitute unlawful sexual harassment, as well as remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. Training should also include a summary of federal and local laws concerning sexual harassment, and a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.

Indiana

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Indiana.

The Indiana Civil Rights Act (IC 22-9) does prevent discrimination based on age and/or disability, but not based on sex.

Iowa

Sexual harassment training requirement in Iowa isn’t required by law.

However, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and ICRC Fact Sheet – Harassment in the Workplace recommends training new hires and supervisory staff to take proactive measures to stop harassment before it happens. The Iowa Civil Rights Act and Iowa Code § 729.6 also prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on a variety of protected characteristics.

Kansas

While there’s no sexual harassment training requirement in Kansas, state law (Kan. Stat. § 44-1126; and Kan. Stat. § 44-1132) prohibits harassment based on race, color, sex, and more.

The Kansas Human Rights Commission recommends employers provide supervisory training to recognize harassment complaints, and the State Attorney General’s Office recommends that employers provide training to all supervisory employees.

Kentucky

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Kentucky, but the Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age (40+), color, disability, race, religion, and more.

Louisiana

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Louisiana.

However, Louisiana law prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on protected characteristics including: age (40+), color, creed, disability, genetic information (including Sickle cell trait), national origin, race, religion, and sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related conditions).

Maine

Training required? Yes, by 26 Me. Rev. Stat. Section 807.

Who’s required to provide training? All Maine employers with 15 or more employees.

What’s required? Employers must provide one-time sexual harassment training for all employees within the first year of employment. Additional training for supervisory and managerial employees must also be provided within the first year of employment.

What does training need to cover? A description of sexual harassment that uses examples, the illegality of sexual harassment, and the definition of sexual harassment under the Maine Human Rights Act and federal law. Training should also include the internal complaint process available to employees, the legal recourse and complaint process available from the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC), directions on how to contact the MHRC, and information about retaliation protections.

Maryland

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Maryland.

Massachusetts

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Massachusetts.

Michigan

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Michigan.

Minnesota

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Minnesota.

Mississippi

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Mississippi.

Missouri

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Missouri.

Montana

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Montana.

Nebraska

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Nebraska.

Nevada

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Nevada.

New Hampshire

A sexual harassment prevention training program for employees is in New Hampshire is not currently mandated by the federal government for state or private organizations, but it’s highly recommended by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

New Jersey

In New Jersey, state government employees and supervisors are required by law to receive sexual harassment training provided by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

While New Jersey private-sector employees aren’t required by law to provide sexual harassment training for all employees, it’s still considered a best practice to provide and require employees to undergo the training.

New Mexico

There is no sexual harassment training requirement.

New York State

Training required? Yes, by New York Labor Law Section 201-G.

Who’s required to provide training? All New York State employers.

What’s required? Employers must provide annual sexual harassment training for all employees.

What does this training need to cover? An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYDOL and the NYDHR, and examples of unlawful sexual harassment. Training must also include information concerning federal and New York statutes on sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, information concerning employees’ rights and all available forums for adjudicating complaints, as well as information addressing conduct by supervisors and the additional responsibilities for supervisors.

New York City

Training required? Yes, by New York City Local Law 96 of 2018.

Who’s required to provide training? All New York City employers with 15 or more employees at any point in the previous calendar year.

What’s required? Employers must provide annual sexual harassment training for all employees who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year, and work for at least 90 days.

What does this training need to cover? State sexual harassment laws, examples of sexual harassment in the workplace, bystander intervention, legal remedies available to those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, retaliation, as well as the complaint process available.

North Carolina

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in North Carolina.

North Dakota

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in North Dakota.

Ohio

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Ohio.

Oklahoma

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Oklahoma.

Oregon

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Oregon.

Pennsylvania

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Rhode Island.

South Carolina

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in South Carolina.

South Dakota

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in South Dakota.

Tennessee

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Tennessee.

Texas

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Texas.

Utah

There is no sexual harassment training requirement in Utah.

Virginia

According to HB 1228, codified at Va. Code § 2.2-4201, contracting agencies who have a government contract of over $10,000 and employ 5 employees or more must provide sexual harassment training to all employees.

Washington

According to RCW 49.60.515, property services, security guard services, hotel, motel, and retail employers who employ isolated workers must provide sexual harassment training for all employees.

Washington, D.C.

According to D.C. Law 22-196. Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 (as amended by D.C. Law 23-149, Subtitle G), employers of tipped employees must provide training to all employees.

West Virginia

There is no sexual harassment training requirement.

Simplify anti-harassment training requirements with Ethena

As regulations change and the overlapping harassment training requirements by state and city get trickier to follow, you can trust Ethena to have your back. Our training is automatically updated as local, state, and federal regulations change, so your employees can focus on learning, and you can leave all confusion in the past.

Ready to demystify the harassment training requirements by city and state that your team needs? Get in touch with us today or snag a free sample of our Harassment Prevention Training below.