Employers must provide training and inform employees of their rights.
Over the past few years, the #MeToo movement has shown the world that sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace remains a major problem. In California, the Legislature has worked to address this issue with a variety of measures, including laws that restrict the use non-disclosure agreements in these types of cases.
Another way that California has tried to reduce or eliminate sexual harassment is by requiring most employers to provide training on sexual harassment to all employees. However, as a California employment lawyer can explain, even if an employer fails to provide the mandated training, they won’t automatically be held responsible for sexual harassment at work.
There are two types of sexual harassment that may occur in the workplace. Hostile work environment harassment is when an employee receives unwelcome advances, comments, or conduct that are based on their sex. This harassment must be severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of employment. In contrast, quid pro quo harassment happens when a supervisor demands sexual favors in exchange for a workplace benefit. An employee may experience one or both kinds of sexual harassment.
In California, employers must take steps to prevent or reduce sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). All California employers with 5 or more employees must provide each supervisor with at least 2 hours of class room or interactive online training on sexual harassment, and 1 hour of this training to all nonsupervisory employees. The training must be completed within 6 months of an employee being hired or promoted, and must be repeated every 2 years after that.
In addition, employers must hang posters on employment discrimination from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in an accessible location. They must also distribute the DFEH’s brochures on sexual harassment to all employees.
Although employers are required to take these steps, a failure to comply with these laws does not mean that an employer will automatically be found liable in a sexual harassment lawsuit. Instead, it may be a factor that is considered as part of a sexual harassment claim.
If you experience sexual harassment at work, then you may be able to file a claim against your employer, either with the DFEH or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A skilled California employment lawyer can help you with the process, from filing the initial complaint to handling a lawsuit in federal or state court. If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for back and front pay, pain and suffering, loss of reputation, and mental anguish.
At PLBSH, we represent employees throughout California who have been subjected to workplace injustice — including sexual harassment. Our team of experienced California employment lawyers is dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for our clients. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our law firm, contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or email@example.com.