The ins and outs of workplace sexual harassment in California

Knowing how sexual harassment at the workplace is defined and enforced can help employees in California stay safe.

Anybody working in the California is probably familiar with the state's laws against sexual harassment. Simply knowing that these laws exist is one thing, but it is even better to know exactly how the laws are written. Familiarizing themselves with this knowledge as well as with knowledge of the other ways in which sexual harassment is defined by the State of California are important ways that people can play a part in making sure their work environments are safe places of employment.

How is sexual harassment defined?

To get a sense of what exactly defines and delineates the behaviors known as sexual harassment from other behaviors, it is helpful to take a look at the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. While Virginia law allows for gender expression which differs from sex at birth, it is required that employees dress consistently with their gender-identities. The FEHA also states that sexual harassment is any conduct which discriminates against independent contractors, employees or job applicants on the basis of gender, breastfeeding, recent childbirth or pregnancy and related conditions.

Who provides sexual harassment training?

Many organizations conduct training with their employees that is designed to help prevent sexual harassment. Any post-graduate degree-holding university, college or law school instructor with 20 hours of instruction about employment law are qualified to teach these programs. If a human resource professional has experience advising employees or employers about sexual harassment prevention, retaliation and discrimination, investigating sexual harassment complaints, responding to complaints about discrimination or harassment or conducting or designing training on sexual harassment prevention, retaliation and discrimination, he or she can provide training to prevent sexual harassment. Also, any attorney who practices employment law and who has been a member of the state bar for at least two years may also teach these kinds of programs.

What training is provided?

All supervisors are to be trained in a number of different strategies for sexual harassment prevention. They must learn what to do if they themselves are accused of harassment as well as what to do when they receive a report of sexual harassment occurring between two employees. They learn some practical examples to help identify harassment, and are instructed on their obligation to report it. They are also taught about resources and remedies available to help those who have been victims of sexual harassment.

Anybody in California who has suffered as a result of sexual harassment at the workplace may be able to pursue financial compensation through legal means. An attorney in the local area who practices employment law may be able to provide sound advice as to how to continue in such cases.