Reminder: Human Trafficking Awareness Training Requirements

Certain employers must provide human trafficking awareness training.
Certain employers must provide human trafficking awareness training.

Mandatory employee training requirements have increased in the last few years. While mandatory harassment prevention training receives most of the attention, numerous other mandatory employee trainings are required under California law, including the lesser-known human trafficking awareness training.

In 2018, to combat human trafficking, California started requiring human trafficking awareness training with varying dates of compliance. A variety of businesses and establishments were also required to post human trafficking notices. Only certain employers must provide the training, and the requirements differ by employers.  

Hotels and Motels

Beginning January 1, 2020, hotels and motels must provide, once every two years, at least 20 minutes of human trafficking awareness training and education to each employee likely to come into contact with human trafficking victims and, within six months of employment in that role, provide training to each new employee who is likely to interact or come into contact with human trafficking victims.

The training must include:

  • The definition of human trafficking and commercial exploitation of children;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • The difference between labor and sex trafficking specific to the hotel sector;
  • Guidance on the role of hospitality employees in reporting and responding to this issue; and
  • The contact information of appropriate agencies, including, but not limited to, the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free telephone number and the telephone numbers of the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.

The California Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of victims of human trafficking also have materials and information that may be included in the training.

If an employer fails to provide this required training, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing may issue an order requiring compliance. However, failure of a hotel or motel employee to report human trafficking does not, by itself, result in liability for the employer or employee.

Intercity Passenger Rail or Light Rail Stations and Bus stations

By January 1, 2021, intercity passenger rail/light rail stations and bus stations must provide at least 20 minutes of training to employees that might interact or come into contact with a human trafficking victim or are likely to receive a report from another employee about suspected human trafficking.

The training must include:

  • The definition of human trafficking including sex trafficking and labor trafficking;
  • Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking;
  • Physical and mental signs to be aware of that may indicate that human trafficking is occurring;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • Guidance on how to report human trafficking, including, but not limited to, national hotlines and contact information for local law enforcement agencies that an employee may use to make a confidential report; and
  • Protocols for reporting human trafficking when on the job.

Failure of an employee to report human trafficking does not, by itself, result in liability for the employer or employee. An employer who fails to provide the required training can be liable for a civil penalty of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

Employers who wish to read more about human trafficking and the state’s efforts on this issue can read the California Attorney General’s dedicated resource page.

James W. Ward, Employment Law Subject Matter Expert/Legal Writer and Editor

CalChamber member can read more about California Laws Prohibiting Human Trafficking in the HR Library. Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.

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