In an effort to eliminate sexual harassment in California’s workplaces, state law gives you the right to sue your employer if you reported harassment and the employer did not take reasonable steps to address the problem. Not only does this right give victims the chance at restitution, it provides employers a financial incentive to make sure their managers, supervisors and workers act appropriately.
Since 2004, the law has also sought to prevent sexual harassment by requiring training. Originally, the law only applied to supervisors at employers with staffs of at least 50. Today, the law requires training of supervisors and non-supervisors for all employers with five or more employees. Supervisors must undergo two hours of anti-harassment training every two years, and non-supervisor workers must receive one hour during that time.
Online training now available
To make this training easier and more convenient, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has released a free one-hour video for non-supervisors. The video is free. It presents several scenarios of sexual harassment, and asks the viewer several true-or-false questions to test their engagement and understanding of the material.
A version for supervisors is not available currently, but DFEH expects to finish a two-hour video for supervisors within a few months.
Training and enforcement are both necessary
Training videos and sessions are useful. They show managers and employees the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, so they cannot claim ignorance later. Regular training may even help convince some harassers to rethink their behavior.
Ultimately though, sexual harassment in the workplace may never go away. Victims need to be able to assert their legal rights when employers do not maintain a safe work environment or punish victims who come forward with a complaint. If you are in this situation, a conversation with an employment law attorney can help you sort out your legal options.