Preventive Measures Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment In California
Sexual Harassment can lead to a hostile work environment. It distresses the victim and creates distrust within the workplace. While there are employee protections that give California workers the right to fight against sexual harassment, the best way is always to prevent it before it happens.
In this post, we'll discuss sexual harassment prevention, as they are commonly encountered by California Labor Law Attorneys.
What Qualifies As Sexual Harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment can occur in different ways. However, it can be categorized into two types:
Quid Pro Quo, which refers to the solicitation of sexual favors in exchange for employment-related benefits, such as a promotion, a pay rise, and so on.
Behavior, conduct, or actions with sexual undertones directed at or about an individual or a group of individuals. Sexual harassment produces an unpleasant work environment for those directly targeted and others who are offended but are not directly targeted.
Harassment is addressed via anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit unfair employment practices. When an employee complains of harassment, they may also allege a hostile work environment.
That said, if you were ever sexually harassed while at work in California, it is within your rights to report it to the right agency. If you are unsure about your grounds, evidence, or processing, consult with an Employment Lawyer in California.
Employers can eradicate and prevent workplace harassment by using effective and thorough training approaches. Companies that invest in harassment prevention training show that they care about providing a safe workplace for their employees.
How Is Sexual Harassment Prevented?
Whether you're an employee or an employer, knowing the best way to prevent sexual harassment at work is the best way to maintain peaceful and productive environments.
This way, employers need to know what they need to implement, and employees know where to go and what to do when the harassment happens.
Here's a list of preventive measures:
1. A Comprehensive Workplace Policy About Sexual Harassment
Sometimes, people don't even know what qualifies as harassment—and that's the problem. Without a comprehensive guide, perpetrators are convinced they're not doing anything wrong, and victims think they have no reason to complain.
To avoid this, there should be a policy that does the following:
Defines distinct types of harassment.
Explain what occurs when uncomfortable behavior turns into harassment.
The more specific and comprehensive the policy is, the better. There should be examples of the scenarios, as well as a clear statement to declares its prohibition.
A training manager or expert from the human resources department can start training about workplace harassment. Employees at all levels should get training.
The company's protocol for reporting, investigating, and resolving harassment concerns should be included in the training session.
Schedules for mandatory attendance at these training sessions should be announced. If staff works different shifts or outside of regular business hours, they could do it in batches.
In California Employment Law, companies with 50 or more employees must have sexual harassment training for supervisors every two years.
3. There Should Be A Set Process For Filing Complaints
There are cases where victims don't know where to go or who to speak to. To address this, there should be a set process that allows employees to file complaints with HR.
If the process is already set and isn't clear, it should be brought up during the training or detailed in the employee handbook.
4. An Updated Employee Handbook
Policy statements should be amended regularly, as per the best practices in the human resources field. In addition, the policy should always be in compliance with applicable employment laws and legislative amendments.
Having the anti-sexual harassment policies in the employees' handbook can help struggling victims of harassment understand their rights in the workplace. They should also understand what is considered wrong, where they should go to complain, and how the process will be once they've made the complaint.
When Employers Refuse To Address Complaints
That said, if your HR department refuses to address your claims, then contact the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) regional or district office for assistance. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing workplace rights.
You should also consult with a California Employment Law Attorney to review your legal options. Not addressing the situation will only cause you more distress, and fighting for your rights outside of work might be the only way to address it.
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