What Are Employer Responsibilities for Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Our San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney Answers Your Questions

California employers have certain responsibilities when it comes to preventing and or responding to complaints of workplace sexual harassment. The employer’s responsibilities vary depending on the number of employees at a company, and whether the harassing employees are managers, supervisors or non-supervisor level employees.

When employers violate California sexual harassment laws, they may be liable for damages. Continue reading to learn more about employer responsibilities for sexual harassment in California workplaces.

Do California Employers Need Sexual Harassment Training?

California law requires employers with five or more employees to take all reasonable steps, to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. As part of that obligation, employers are required to provide sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training. These training programs must meet certain standards and must cover specific laws and subjects. Employers must provide one hour of training to non-supervisory employees and two hours to supervisors by January 1, 2021. In addition, employers must provide this training to employees once every two years. New employees must receive training within six months. Training was initially required to be completed by January 1, 2020, but the deadline was extended by one year.

In addition to compliant training, employers are also required to distribute the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s DFEH-185 brochure on sexual harassment, or an alternative writing that complies with Government Code section 12950. Such writings must meet certain legal requirements. Attorney Evan A. Gould can assist employers in meeting their obligations under the law.

San Diego sexual harassment and Employment attorney Evan A. Gould can help employers meet their training and policy requirements under California law. For more information on our sexual harassment training services, please visit our website or call us at (619) 941-0667.

Do Employers Have to Address Sexual Harassment?

California employers cannot ignore sexual harassment without being in violation of state law. If an employee reports sexual harassment, the employer has a legal obligation to address the issue. Failure to do so could make the employer liable for damages.

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are strictly liable for harassment carried out by supervisors.

Employers may be guilty of negligence for failing to address sexual harassment by non-supervisory employees and non-employees. This means that an employer can be liable if a client or customer sexually harasses an employee and fails to investigate or take corrective action.

Can Employers Fire Employees for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

Employers cannot fire employees who report sexual harassment, as it would be retaliation. An employee who loses his or her job, suffers a demotion or other forms of “adverse employment action” for reporting harassment may be entitled to compensation from their employer. It may be possible for the employee to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer.

California is an at-will state, meaning an employer can terminate an employee’s position without notice. However, employers cannot terminate an employee’s position for reporting a violation of local, state or federal law. In addition, employers cannot terminate an employee due to an employee’s protected status, such as genderrace, sexual orientation or gender identity.

How Long Does an Employee Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim?

A recent change to California state law gives employees more time to file a sexual harassment claim against a negligent employer. Assembly Bill 9, also known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension Act (SHARE), extends the statute of limitations for filing a claim to three years.

Certain claims are initiated with a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or, the EEOC. After filing a complaint, the DFEH and or EEOC may choose to investigate your claim. However, you may also be able to request a right to sue letter and proceed directly with a lawsuit. It is important to consult an experienced employment law attorney before making decisions and before complaints are filed to make sure your rights are fully asserted and protected.

Contact Our San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney for More Information

You may contact The Gould Firm for more information on sexual harassment laws in California. If you want to inquire about sexual harassment training, then we encourage you to contact us for a consultation.

You can schedule a consultation with San Diego sexual harassment attorney Evan Gould by dialing (619) 941-0667 or using a secure contact form.

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