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Local Officials Must Participate in Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Education

Client Alert

On September 29, 2016, the Governor signed AB 1661 into law.  This client alert provides an update on the new law which expanded existing requirements already placed on supervisors.

AB 1661

Currently, all local public agency officials must receive training in ethics if the local agency provides any type of compensation, salary, or stipend to those officials. In addition, public agencies must provide at least two hours of education regarding sexual harassment and workplace bullying to all supervisory employees.

AB 1661 expanded the anti-harassment training requirement to elected officials and members of legislative bodies of local agencies. “Local agencies” include cities, counties, charter cities, charter counties, and special districts.


Each local agency official must receive at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training within the first six months of taking office or beginning employment, and every two years thereafter.  In addition, public agencies may require that non-supervisory employees receive sexual harassment prevention training or information. A local agency official who serves more than one agency must satisfy the requirements every two years without regard to the number of agencies he or she serves.

The training must include practical guidance and examples regarding the federal and state laws prohibiting sexual harassment, and laws requiring the prevention and correction of sexual harassment.  The course must also discuss the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.  Trainers must have knowledge and expertise in the prevention of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

A local agency or an association of local agencies may offer one or more training courses, or sets of self-study materials with tests, to meet the requirements of this section. These courses may be taken at home, in person, or online.  Each agency must recommend compliant courses at least once in written form before the official or employee assumes office and every two years thereafter.

Record-Keeping Requirements

All trainers must give participants proof of participation.  Agencies must keep records of all sexual harassment prevention training indicating:  (1) the dates of trainings, and (2) the entity that provided the training.  The agency must maintain the records for at least five years. These records are public records subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

Aleshire & Wynder offers Anti-Harassment training, fully compliant with AB 1825 and AB 1661 and Anti-Bullying training, fully compliant with SB 2053.

For further information, please contact Colin J. Tanner, Pam K. Lee, Laura A. Walker or Christine M. Carson from Aleshire & Wynder, LLP’s Labor & Employment Practice Group at (949) 223-1170.