Changing the Culture of Sexual Harassment


Is Your Business Leading the Way?

California Harassment Prevention Training deadline: January 1, 2021

Let CalChamber help you drive positive culture change through compliance.

For 130 years, CalChamber has worked to make California a better place to live, work and do business. These are trying times for everyone. We've been through crises in the past, yet we've persevered and even thrived. Together, we will get through this COVID-19 crisis, and thrive again.

Can you recognize the fine lines of harassment in the workplace? Harassment free workplaces that respect all workers are more successful, have better retention rates and increase an employer's ability to recruit and hire the most qualified workers.

Nearly 1,000,000 employees and supervisors have been trained by CalChamber. Harassment prevention training for supervisors (two hours) and nonsupervisory employees (one hour) is mandated for any California company with five or more employees.

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Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

It Starts at the Top — Are You Leading the Cultural Change in Preventing Workplace Harassment?

Can you recognize the fine lines of harassment in your workplace? What about your employees? It's those gray areas of even unintentional behavior that can create problems. Xenophobia, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace have been brought to the forefront due to COVID-19. As times change and people evolve, there will continue to be new areas to explore in workplace harassment prevention training.

Employers are asking hard questions [1] which may uncover the fine lines of harassment during this uncertain time. It's up to you to set the tone. As a business owner, it's ultimately your responsibility for avoiding liability for harassment, sexual or otherwise. The actions—or inaction—of your managers and employees can result in costly judgments against your company and themselves.

"When faced with a potential lawsuit, usually the first question your counsel will ask is whether your employees have received sexual harassment prevention training."

Erika Frank, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Leading cultural change starts at the top which may be why "[Employers] are shifting the focus of training away from being solely based on legal standards to one where professionalism and organizational values are the benchmarks for behavior," said Elizabeth Bille, J.D., SHRM-SCP, senior vice president of workplace culture at EverFi.

"Boards of directors are increasingly putting pressure [on their organizations] about this issue and are holding senior leaders accountable," she said. "They are asking, 'What are we doing to get this right?' Boards are particularly attuned to sexual harassment and misconduct generally." [2]

Nearly 40,000 businesses in the state rely on CalChamber for advocacy and labor law compliance. Whether you're a small business owner wearing multiple hats or a seasoned HR professional, CalChamber is proud to provide resources you can count on.

Deadline for all completed training is January 1, 2021.

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Working Remote and Workplace Harassment

CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Erika Frank says, "Regardless of whether employees are working remotely or not, employers still have an obligation to keep a harassment free workplace. Even though workers are at home, they still are interacting with each other via technology platforms such as Zoom, a video conferencing service. Workers should, for example, be mindful of inappropriate or personal items residing in the background when connecting through a video conference service."

Sexual Harassment and Your Liability

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 difference is important so you can recognize and stop the behavior.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious concern. However, harassment does not have to be of sexual nature and can include offensive remarks about a person's protected characteristic, such as sex. 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, under both California and federal law, and take steps to prevent or stop it.

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What you need to know about sexual harassment prevention training.

  • Beginning in 2019, California significantly expanded its harassment prevention training requirements.
  • Employers with five or more employees must comply with training obligations, down from 50 or more.
  • Supervisors must receive two hours of sexual harassment prevention training.
  • Nonsupervisory employees must receive one hour of sexual harassment prevention training.
  • Training must take place within six months of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter.
  • Training must include a component on the prevention of abusive conduct as well as a component on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
  • California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) affirms your duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct.

Changing workplace culture doesn't happen overnight, but each step is important in driving change. CalChamber's courses meet California's legal requirements and include best practices that raise awareness about the subtleties of harassment, improve workplace culture and respect, increase productivity, and a sense of well-being.

Deadline for all completed training is January 1, 2021.

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Not ready to start Harassment Prevention Training?

Sources:

  1. COVID-19: What Employers Are Asking. (2020, March 25). Retrieved April 13, 2020, from https://advocacy.calchamber.com/2020/03/25/covid-19-what-employers-are-asking/
  2. Gurchiek, K. (2020, February 25). Weinstein Trial: What Impact Will the Verdict Have in the Workplace? Retrieved April 13, 2020, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/pages/weinstein-trial-what-impact-will-the-verdict-have-in-the-workplace.aspx