Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Set to Begin for California Cleaners

Peer-to-peer violence awareness training will begin in January

September 21, 2020

Professional cleaners and housekeepers, who often work alone and late at night, have long been at risk of sexual harassment and violence. A recent spotlight on sexual harassment, brought about by the #MeToo movement, has brought the risks these cleaning professionals face to light.

California legislation passed in 2016, known as “Justice for Janitors” mandated that the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) establish sexual violence and harassment prevention training for all registered custodial service businesses in the state. Businesses that do not offer this training to their employees are not allowed to register in California, preventing them from working in the state.

The first part of the legislation tasked the DIR with establishing training standards, which it completed for all registered custodial service venders this summer. The next step is for these employers to find qualifying training sources to administer the sexual harassment and violence training to their workers, according to a news release from Compliance Training Group. Workers must receive this training at least every two years.

Additional California legislation, which goes into effect January 1, 2021, will allow current and former custodians to be certified as peer trainers to help cleaning professionals at risk of sexual harassment on the job. These trainers will receive intensive schooling in labor law and evidence-based harassment prevention.

The California laws seek to address decades of unreported sexual violence against female cleaning service staff. Abusers frequently targeted undocumented workers working late-night and overnight shifts. The victims often didn’t report the harassment for fear of discrimination and further abuse.

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