We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office Says California Agencies Met Sexual Harassment Training Goal. But Dozens Of Departments Remain Out Of Compliance.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his inaugural address outside the state Capitol Jan. 7, 2019.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says state agencies met his July 1 deadline to train supervisors in sexual harassment prevention, as required by law. But potentially dozens of departments still need to train all of their supervisors.

“As of July 1, virtually all state agencies are in compliance with sexual harassment training requirements,” said spokesman Jesse Melgar in an emailed statement on Monday. “Now, our administration’s focus turns to ensuring all departments meet that standard.”

Melgar since provided an update that all agencies had reached full compliance. 

However, only the 11 cabinet agencies that answer directly to the governor had to meet the deadline, Newsom’s office explained. It said the dozens of departments that make up those larger agencies were not required to get into compliance by July. 

Some of those departments have failed to provide sexual harassment training to hundreds of supervisors in recent years. Melgar did not say if Newsom set a deadline for the departments to finish training supervisors. 

In May, a CapRadio investigation found dozens of state agencies failed to provide sexual harassment training to nearly 1,800 state government supervisors in recent years.

California law requires all state supervisors receive sexual harassment training. But last year, nearly 60 percent of agencies surveyed by the State Personnel Board did not provide this training, up from 25 percent in 2016 and 32 percent in 2017

The board surveys between 15 and 30 agencies each year on compliance, and none were surveyed more than once in the published reports since 2016. Some noncompliant agencies had only a few untrained supervisors, whereas others had hundreds. 

In May, the governor’s office declined CapRadio’s request for an interview to learn more about its effort to get agencies and departments into compliance. 

In June, attorneys in the governor’s office chose to not disclose records to CapRadio containing information about the directions given to agency directors to comply with the training laws. 

Starting in January 2020, all state employees — not just supervisors — must receive ongoing sexual harassment training. The governor’s office says it is also focusing on meeting this requirement, although some leaders have expressed concern about the state’s ability to comply with the new law.

The 2020 training requirement for all employees will also apply to most private sector businesses. 

Scott Rodd

State Government Reporter

Scott Rodd previously covered government and legal affairs for the Sacramento Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Scott worked as a freelance reporter in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  Read Full Bio 

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.