This is a sample of the type of content on HRCalifornia, California’s #1 resource on employment law.
Act now to educate employees and avoid situations that put your company at risk for litigation.
Sexual harassment in the workplace has become a serious area of concern. Your liability as an employer may be extended to acts committed by supervisors and rank-and-file employees. Therefore, it is essential that you understand what constitutes sexual harassment and take steps to prevent or stop it.
For more details on AB 1825 legislation and harassment prevention, download our free AB 1825 White Paper.
- Failing to understand what constitutes sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Defined
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual physical or verbal conduct in the workplace. There are two categories of sexual harassment: Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment. Understanding the differences in the two categories is important because they have different liability implications.
Federal law forbids sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. Title VII covers employers who employ, or have employed, 15 or more employees for each working day in 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
Sexual harassment is illegal under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Sexual harassment protections extend to professional relationships and independent contractors.
Determining if a Hostile Environment Exists
To determine if a hostile environment exists in a sexual harassment situation, use the "reasonable person" or "reasonable woman" standard.
Who is Liable
Sexual harassment law covers the actions of supervisors, coworkers, customers and vendors. Depending on the actions, or inaction, of you and your employees, you may be held liable.
Sexual Harassment Training
Every California employee must receive a sexual harassment information sheet at the time of hire. California employers of 50 or more employees, including those outside California, are required to provide supervisors within the state of California with two hours of sexual harassment training every two years.
In general, claims of sexual harassment must be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the incident.
HRCalifornia members have access to several tools and services that help those who manage human resources to work through sexual harassment issues, including:
CA Harassment Prevention Training - 2 Hour Supervisor Version
Harassment training is good for your business in two ways. It's not only the law, but harassment in the workplace can damage your employee's morale and your company's productivity.
California companies with 50 or more employees are required to provide all supervisors two hours of sexual harassment prevention training within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter.
CalChamber's online training course meets the AB1825 requirements for this training and helps simplify harassment prevention training.
How To: Develop an Anti-Harassment Policy
Developing, publishing and enforcing an anti-harassment policy provides a set of best practices in maintaining a harassment-free work environment and defending against employee claims. The How To is a step-by-step guide through the process.
Sexual harassment Quiz
Do you know sexual harassment when you see it? What about your employees? Use this quiz to test your knowledge or that of your employees on this very important HR topic.
AB 1825 White Paper
This white paper provides plain-language information for employers about sexual harassment training.
Credibility Assessment Guidelines for Harassment Investigations
It is important to determine the credibility of those testifying as part of a harassment complaint investigation. Use these guidelines to help you determine the credibility of an interviewee.
Harassment Discipline Checklist
Use this checklist to implement any disciplinary actions that must be taken as a result of a harassment investigation.
Implementing a Harassment Policy Checklist
Review this checklist when implementing a harassment policy at your company.
Provide this policy to employee which states that you prohibit harassment in the workplace. You may include this policy in your employee handbook.
Harassment Complaint Procedure
Use this form to explain your company's harassment complaint procedure. Distribute the procedure along with your non-harassment policy to new employees and perhaps annually to all employees.
Harassment Investigation Letter to Alleged Harasser
Use this letter to inform an employee accused of harassment of his/her rights and obligations during the investigation process.
Harassment Investigation Letter to Complainant
Use this letter to inform an employee making a harassment complaint of his/her rights and obligations during the investigation process.
Post-Investigation Letter to Alleged Harasser
Use this form to inform the alleged harasser of the outcome of your harassment investigation.
Post-Investigation Letter to Complainant
Use this letter to inform the complaining employee of the outcome of your harassment investigation.