Since the #MeToo movement became part of the national conversation in 2017, there’s been a heightened awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace. No employer wants to be the one that’s oblivious to serious incidents or a pervasive hostile atmosphere. At the same time, though, there’s a lot of fear around the topic, both at the individual employee level and at the organizational level. With societal norms changing, people don’t always trust themselves to know what could be considered harassing, and that can create a discomfort among colleagues that isn’t conducive to a happy, productive work environment.
The best antidote to that kind of fear is knowledge, starting with the legal definition of sexual harassment. Here’s what you need to know about how California law defines sexual harassment, the main categories of harassment, and the elements that must be present for a sexual harassment claim.
Under California law, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, which includes any visual, verbal, or physical actions of a sexual nature, and actions that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment based on an employee’s sex. The two main categories of workplace sexual harassment are:
From the employee side, there’s often the apprehension that a single misinterpreted comment will land them in hot water. The fact is that the law has several elements that must be met to prove sexually harassing conduct. To do that, a claim must show that the conduct was:
California has strict legal requirements regarding sexual harassment prevention training in the workplace. While it may seem like an annoying box to check off, it’s actually a golden opportunity to alleviate employee fears and set clear expectations for workplace conduct—when it is done right. Boring training programs that are designed to meet the minimum standards and nothing more don’t get the job done.
At Bridge Training Consultants, our sexual harassment prevention training has been created to be understandable and entertaining. Participants learn through humor and concrete examples, with trainings customized to be relevant to your industry. We offer both in-person and remote training in English and Spanish to make our sessions accessible to your entire workforce.
A workplace culture where all employees feel safe and valued benefits everybody, improving retention and productivity and reducing conflict. To find out how Bridge Training can help you foster a supportive environment through effective sexual harassment prevention training, contact us here.
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