Your employer has a responsibility to keep your workplace free from sexual harassment. Taking action when something has already occurred is not enough. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) lays out what they require of employers to reduce the chance a business can claim ignorance after the event.
There are six steps employers must take:
- Distribute a document complying with Government Code 12950, such as this one.
- Display the poster called “California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment.”
- Produce a written policy, complying with 2 CCR 11023. It must specifically address all groups of people covered under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
- Ensure all employees have read the policy. The employer must be able to provide proof that every worker has received the document. From 2021 it must be included in the induction of all new staff.
- Translate the policy into any language spoken by 10% or more of the workforce at any location.
- Train staff for one hour and supervisors for two hours in the prevention of sexual harassment.
Some employers may fail to comply with the above requirements. Their workforce may take that as evidence that the company does not care about preventing sexual harassment. It could result in some employees feeling they can continue in their discriminatory ways without consequences. Others could be left feeling unsupported and vulnerable.
If someone has sexually harassed you at work, seek legal help. Under California law, you may be able to hold your employer responsible if they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it from happening.