Sexual harassment training and the many legal requirements that employers must meet regarding it keep changing. Several states have seen rather radical updates to their state laws associated with training supervisory (and in some cases non-supervisory) employees, and Delaware is among them.

However, it does not matter where your company is located, or even if it is spread out over several different states; there are harassment-prevention rules that must be met. While you might say that your state, or the state in which the company is headquartered, has no specific harassment policies around harassment training, you are still going to find yourself responsible for ensuring a secure and safe workplace. And that means (as a company owner or operator), you must be sure you comply with harassment prevention laws.

What Is Required in Delaware?

The Delaware Employment Law website notes that Delaware’s laws that address sexual harassment are expansive, saying in 2019 that new laws are in place, “specifically addressing the prohibition against sexual harassment under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA).” And they go on to point out that one of the “biggest changes is the requirement that larger employers provide interactive training and education to employees regarding the prevention of sexual harassment.”

Before what they mean by interactive, let’s first look at who is required to get the training.

Who Must Receive Training?

According to the new laws, “any public or private sector employer with 50 or more employees in the State of Delaware to provide harassment prevention training. In determining whether they have 50 or more employees, employers should count all full-time employees, part-time employees, interns, and apprentices, but need not count applicants or independent contractors.”

Unlike other states with sharply defined laws, Delaware did not specify what period of time to use when determining coverage, but most employers are encouraged to follow the federal guidelines and laws. This would mean that a firm with 50 or more employees from the 20 previous calendar weeks would need to ensure all required employees were formally trained.

Which employees would require that training? This is a much easier issue to understand because unlike many other states in which only supervisory employees have to be trained, in Delaware, the training includes everyone. Get your Delaware Sexual Harassment Prevention training today.

This means full-time staff, part-time staff, seasonal workers, temps, and even apprentices or interns are required to receive training. And if someone works both in Delaware and outside of the state for the company, they too must be trained. If a worker is employed by a firm headquartered in Delaware, but they do not work within Delaware at all, there is still a legal state requirement to supply the training.

Additionally, new supervisors are required to receive interactive training within the first year of their new role. The training has to cover the responsibilities of a supervisor in regard to preventing and then addressing sexual harassment issues, including the topic of retaliation.

The new Delaware sexual harassment training laws required all existing employees to be fully trained before January 1, 2020, and for any and all new hires to receive training within a year of beginning employment. Once training has been completed, all employees are put on a two-year schedule for updated training every two years after their initial training.

The way that the Delaware laws ease up on employer a bit is to allow a six-month period to pass before a new hire must be trained to be in compliance. Employment agencies have to operate a bit differently and are required to provide staff with training, even though they place them with a third-party employer.

What Do the Laws Specifically Say?

Delaware House Bill 360, which created this mandated training says that the legislation exists to “offer broader protections for Delaware workers against sexual harassment than those found at the federal level by defining sexual harassment as an unlawful employment practice and clarifying the definition of employee to include state employees, persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or unpaid interns. This bill also includes a requirement that the Department of Labor create an information sheet pertaining to sexual harassment that employers must distribute to employees. Employers having more than 50 employees must provide sexual harassment training to their supervisory employees six months after they assume the supervisory role, and the training must be conducted every two years.”

Who Provides the Interactive Training?

While the burden of ensuring proper training and legal compliance is always on the employer, the employers themselves are not obliged to provide training. Instead, it has to be a variety of training in which the employee has the ability to participate. It can be web-based, and the employee should be able to pose and get answers to questions during the sessions, or it can be live training.

Delaware employers are allowed to use vendors qualified to provide training, and the only requirement is that they offer interactive training that meets the minimum standards. It must cover the illegality of sexual harassment, the formal definitions of it, the complaint processes and legal remedies available, directions for contacting the Delaware DOL, and the legal prohibition against retaliation.

Sexual harassment training is mandatory in Delaware and all employees must be trained in the required timeframe by a knowledgeable expert.

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