There are various ideas you may incorporate to reduce the level of sexual harassment in the workplace. Each idea applies differently depending on the type of situation you are in. If you are an employer, focus on creating a harassment-free workplace by following these helpful tips:
- Make it understood and clear to all employees that harassment is strictly not tolerated.
- Offer educational information on harassment on a consistent basis. Trainings should be held with open communication and guidance to ensure that the chance of a sexual harassment case is minimal. Annual trainings can be enforced to properly provide vital information for employees to learn about. Within these trainings, detailed information about sexual harassment will be mentioned such as explaining that all employees have the right to be free of sexual harassment, going over complaint procedures, and encouraging employees to speak up. Additionally, office meetings or group discussions can also play an effective role in teaching staff about appropriate interactions with one another.
- Not only should you primarily focus on training employees, but it is also essential to train supervisors and managers, as well. These sessions should incorporate the best ways to deal with sexual harassment cases within the workplace.
- Establish an anti-harassment policy that applies to everyone in the workplace. This policy must explicitly define sexual harassment while also stating that there is zero tolerance for this issue. It should also include a clear procedure for the process of filing sexual harassment complaints and it should be clear that an investigation will be conducted for all complaints.
- Immediately investigate any sexual harassment incidents. Quick responses will let staff know that you care for their safety.
- Keep an open mind towards the victims who are speaking up about being sexually harassed by another employee. Failure to do so may potentially carry legal repercussions. Do not make any conclusions without hearing both parties’ perspectives on what happened. Take notes during your discussions and gather relevant documents that could help resolve a sexual harassment case.
- Do not retaliate. It is against the law to punish an employee for complaining about harassment. If you do not follow this law, you may be faced with claims of illegal retaliation.
- Offer the appropriate level of discipline towards any employees who are harassing other employees.
- Offer protection and support for victims.
- Continue to monitor the workplace environment to make sure that no sexual harassment occurs.
In California, it is required for employers with at least 50 employees to give supervisors two hours of sexual harassment prevention training within six months of being hired and every two years thereafter.
Currently, the threshold amount of employees that have coverage under the law has been reduced to five, thus resulting in non-supervisory employees being included in the trainings, as well.
Basically, employers with at least five employees are required to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training with all supervisory employees. They may also offer a one hour sexual harassment prevention training for all non-supervisory employees. Part-time, temporary, and independent contractors all fall under the 5 employee minimum requirement.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) can make training available for supervisors and non-supervisors. For temporary or seasonal employees that have worked less than six months, it is expected for them to participate in the trainings within 30 calendar days after being hired or within 100 hours of first working, whichever comes first.
If a temporary employee is employed by a temporary services employer to provide services for clients, then the training must be given by the temporary service employer rather than the client.
- Familiarize yourself with the company’s policies regarding sexual harassment.
- Be respectful and sensitive towards victims who experienced sexual harassment.
- Observe the workplace to see if inappropriate, sexually charged behaviors are taking place and causing a negative work environment. Be aware of the many forms of sexual harassment. Once you are familiar with inappropriate sexual behavior, it can help you report it if necessary.
- Pay attention to your own behavior and make sure you are not exhibiting any verbal or non-verbal behaviors that could potentially create conflict or discomfort in others.
When It Comes To Confrontation
- If it is appropriate in the moment, immediately confront the harasser when you notice their inappropriate behavior. Clearly make them aware that their actions are coming off as offensive.
- If it is appropriate in the moment, inform the harasser that their behavior is negatively impacting you and adversely affecting your work experience, as well.
- If it is appropriate in the moment, let the harasser specifically know which behaviors offended you.
What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The sexual harassment lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling sexual harassment cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a sexual harassment attorney in California, contact our office at (213) 927-3700