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The 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 4 "Expansion of Human Trafficking Training"

It's the end of the year and while everyone is busy, employers in California should be aware of new laws and regulations that go into effect on January 1, 2019. In the spirit of the season, we are using the next "12 days of the holidays" to blog about one California law a day and that law's impact on California employers. On the fourth day of Christmas, my Labor and Employment attorney gave to me—four calling birds and SB 970 with an added bonus of AB 2034.

You may recall just last year, as part of our 12 days of Labor & Employment, we discussed AB 260, which expanded human trafficking notices. This law added the requirement that hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts were required to post a notice with information regarding slavery and human trafficking. 

Beginning in 2019, the legislature will also require training for certain industries. SB 970 requires that hotel and motel employers provide a minimum of 20 minutes of classroom or other effective training regarding human trafficking awareness. The training must be completed by January 1, 2020. The training is not required for every hotel and motel employee. However, employees who are likely to come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, including front desk employees, housekeepers, luggage assistance employees, managers, restaurant/bar servers, or shuttle drivers, must receive training. Kitchen employees and maintenance employees do not have to receive this training. However, each covered employer should do an assessment of their business to determine who should have this training. The training needs to be completed every two years thereafter.

In conjunction with SB 970, the Legislature also enacted AB 2034. This law requires that employers in the mass transit industry provide the same type of training to their employees on human trafficking awareness. The training should be designed to educate employees on how to spot potential human trafficking as well as how to properly report it. These employees may include employees who operate rail, light rail or bus lines. It may also include employees who work at ticket counters for these modes of transportation, and employees who may receive reports from other employees on suspected human trafficking situations. Mass transit employers need to have their training completed by January 1, 2021.

Any employer who falls into these two categories evaluate the nature of their business to determine which of its employees should receive training to spot and effectively handle any human trafficking the employee may encounter. It is best advised to discuss this with employment counsel sooner rather than later to determine how the training will be implemented. Based on the bill, training does not need to be in person but may be effectively completed as an individual training program. Thus, the employers can determine what works best for them and/or what information/training materials they need to obtain in order to provide the necessary training.  

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