In 2019, California passed Assembly Bill (AB) 547, which requires janitorial employers to provide in-person training in preventing sexual violence and harassment at least once every two years. However, due to concerns about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of these training requirements was paused. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) announced recently that employers must now commence with the training in light of the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Covered Employers

Under AB 547, covered employers include any person or entity that employs at least one covered worker or otherwise engages by contract, subcontract, or franchise agreement for the provision of janitorial services by one or more covered workers. The term “employer” includes the term “covered successor employer,” but does not include an entity that is the recipient of the janitorial services.

Covered Worker

The legislation defines a covered worker as a janitor, including any individual predominantly working, whether as an employee, independent contractor, or franchisee, as a janitor, as that term is defined in the Service Contract Act Directory of Occupations (SCADO) maintained by the United States Department of Labor.

Housekeeping staff and workers who specialize in window washing, cleaning machinery, and who receive additional compensation for maintaining sterile facilities or equipment are also excluded from the SCADO definition of a janitor.

AB 547 specifically exempts from its definition of a “covered worker” any individual whose work duties are predominantly the final cleanup of debris, grounds, and buildings near the completion of a construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work project.

Harassment Prevention Training

The harassment prevention training requirements under AB 547 are similar to those already required of all employers with 5 or more employees in the State of California.  However, unlike the state requirement, all employees (both supervisory and nonsupervisory) are required to have at least two hours of training.

In addition, covered employers must ensure they use content developed by the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations. The training content is available on the DLSE website.

In addition, the training shall include identification of local, state, and national resources for victims of sexual violence and harassment, including hotlines and helplines for survivors, community-based resources such as rape crisis centers, counseling services, and mental health support, and agencies or organizations to whom they may report sexual violence and harassment.

Qualified Organizations and Peer Trainers

AB 547 further requires employers to use a qualified organization and peer trainers to provide harassment prevention training. The DLSE maintains a list of qualified organizations. If there are no qualified peer trainers available in a specific county to provide the training because no qualified organization was included on the Labor Commissioner’s website, or none of the qualified trainers are available to meet an employer’s training needs, the employer may use a trainer as prescribed by the Civil Rights Department to fulfill their obligations under Labor Code section 1429.5. The prescribed trainer must provide in-person training and use the LOHP training materials.

If you have questions about compliance with the sexual violence and harassment prevention training for janitorial service providers or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.