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Workplace Sexual Harassment Law Trends for 2021

— May 6, 2021

Compared to the previous year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had a 12% increase in complaints with claims of sexual harassment. 

The #MeToo movement took the world by storm. 

The #MeToo movement has helped women band together and come forward to complain about workplace harassment as they began to realize that other women had similar discrimination or sexual misconduct experiences. 

Thousands of women joined together to speak out against the sexual abuse and harassment they received from men all around the world. The exposure of the widespread sexual abuse allegations populated mainstream media.

The movement left a lasting imprint on the world as we know it. Laws and guidelines were made and put into place to help mitigate harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment and consequences have become a serious topic and concern for all employers.

The States Taking Action

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome written, verbal, physical, or visual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical misconduct. 

Many states now mandate sexual harassment training be given to employees in order to educate workers on what is and not okay. 

States Require Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Listen, employers now have a legal obligation to keep a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Employees should not want to stop going to work because they are constantly stressed out from coworkers or even upper managers being physically or verbally aggressive towards them.

Image of a sign with the #MeToo hashtag
#MeToo; image courtesy of Mihai Surdu via Unsplash,

After all, companies with significant rates of workplace sexual harassment often have employees who suffer from low self-esteem, poor productivity, and the companies face expensive compliance fines or lawsuits. In short, it is simply bad for business and your moral compass if you don’t take the responsibility for providing a safe workplace. 

States Requirements For Harassment Training

Many states also have their own specific workplace sexual harassment laws as well. Here’s a breakdown of the requirements held.


AB 1825, passed in 2005, makes California harassment training mandatory. By law, all employees and supervisory managers need to be trained within 6 months of hire or by the assumption of a supervisory role. 

Temporary workers must also be trained within 30 days of when they are hired or within their first 100 hours worked.

Employees must be trained every 2 years. 

New York

Under Local law 96, employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide yearly sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. 

New York State law requires that employers of one or more employees must give sexual harassment prevention training to every single employee.

New York City’s law required calls for employers to give training every year. 


The Public Act 101-0221 amended the Illinois Human Rights Act which requires all Illinois employers to provide yearly sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020 and annually after that.

Restaurants and bars needs to spread a written policy for sexual harassment prevention training and also develop a model sexual harassment prevention training program for use by employers.


Under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) (amended in 2018 with HB 360), employers with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees every two years. 

The training must be given within 1 year of employment. 


All employers of any size must provide sexual harassment training to their supervisors in Connecticut. The Act put into place requires employers to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors by the deadline (or within six months of their assumption of supervisory duties). 

Employers with 3 or more employees must provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all their employees.

All employees hired before October 1, 2019 must be trained by April 19, 2021. Employees hired after October 1, 2019, must be trained within six months of hire.Check out this free sexual harassment laws by state guide for a detailed breakdown of each state.

The Future of Harassment in the Workplace

Compared to the previous year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had a 12% increase in complaints with claims of sexual harassment. 

More and more states are putting into place sexual harassment laws to educate and reduce the chances of harassment happening in the work environment. If you own a business or are an HR representative, you should not let any of your employees work in a hostile environment. 

Take the necessary precautions to help your employees avoid experiencing or witnessing aggressive, unwanted sexual advances. They should not have to endure sexually suggestive jokes and behavior. 

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