Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in many workplaces in California and across the country. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing clearly defines sexual harassment, which essentially includes someone making unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors in return for career advancement or some other reward. No matter the particulars, sexual harassment is illegal, and employers should have a plan in place to deal with such issues. Part of that plan includes training all company employees from the top down on sexual harassment and prevention.
Prevention begins with training
Employers in California are required by the state to have a comprehensive sexual harassment training plan in place. Companies who employ five or more people must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to employees in leadership roles and at least one hour to employees who have no supervisory roles. Training should occur at least once every two years, and the training should commence within six months of an employee getting hired at the company or a supervisor beginning his or her new role. Seasonal and temporary employees usually follow an abbreviated timeline.
What training entails
Sexual harassment training should cover all related statutes regarding such behavior. Both the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 provide definitions of sexual harassment. Training should also include identifying conduct that could be construed as sexual harassment, with examples, and training should also include avenues affected employees can use to report and deal with such treatment.
Who provides the training?
Qualified trainers must conduct the training. These can include employment law attorneys, human resources professionals who themselves have had at least two years of sexual harassment training experience, and those who have advanced degrees in teaching and have accumulated at least 20 hours of instruction regarding employment law as it falls under Title VII or FEHA.
Although employers in California must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, that does not mean that it will actually prevent it. Unfortunately, sexual harassment still occurs all too often. Those who feel they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace can consult with an experienced employment law attorney for assistance.