What You Need to Know about Sexual Harassment Laws in California
In California, employees are protected from unwanted physical, sexual and verbal conduct by fellow employees, colleagues, superiors and others in the workplace, under both federal as well as state laws.
The federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protects employees against sexual harassment, while in California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act deems such harassment illegal. In California, sexual harassment laws cover not just the actions of superiors like managers, but also supervisors, and coworkers. Besides, California laws extend sexual harassment protections even to independent contractors, vendors and customers. Even if these persons engage in any kind of inappropriate physical, sexual or verbal conduct with an employee, he or she may be eligible to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against you.
Orange county sexual harassment lawyers find that one of the most effective ways of preventing or minimizing the risk of sexual harassment litigation against your company is to make sure that all of your employees, including senior-level managers and other employees, can recognize sexual harassment incidents. Very often, supervisors may not even notice any incidents of sexual harassment, especially when these involve, jokes, taunting, teasing, or inappropriate e-mails being exchanged by colleagues in the workplace. This may seem like harmless banter and a part of a friendly work atmosphere. However, those very same images, e-mails, jokes and other material can be used as a base to file a lawsuit against your company.
Make sure that managers and supervisors in superior positions are trained to recognize signs of sexual harassment. Also ensure that employees know what to do when they come across such incidents of sexual harassment. Don’t neglect any complaints of sexual harassment that are made by employees. All complaints must be documented. Also document all the action that has been taken against the errant employee.
Every employee must receive a sexual harassment worksheet that is given to him at the time of recruitment. In fact, under California law, employees who have at least 50 employees must provide supervisors at least two hours of sexual harassment training. The training must be conducted every two years, and must include supervisors located outside the state of California as well. Talk to an Orange county sexual harassment lawyer about the steps you can take to ensure a harassment-proof workplace.