Don’t Give Sexual Harassment the Blind Eye in Your Workplace
Unless you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for the last few weeks, you’ve most likely heard about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., (Al Franken now added to this list as I write) and a multitude of other high-profile men in Hollywood. Claims varying in scope from inappropriate text messages to rape have been the talk of almost every tabloid, online media outlet, and newscast in the country. All using their power, prestige, and money to target innocent victims. Intimidation, humiliation, and fear; the bargaining chips for keeping victims silent.
Having worked in Human Resources now for the last 17 years, I’ve attended and led my share of sexual harassment trainings. Doing what I can to help educate executives, managers, supervisors, and employees on how to recognize, prevent, and report harassment. I’ve investigated countless claims of sexual harassment and have discovered it to be rampant in the workplace. I find this both maddening and sad. Maddening that it continues to happen and sad that so many innocent people become silent victims.
Employers need to be proactive and vigilant in their approach to putting an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. California has led the way in requiring sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors who work for companies with 50 or more employees. However, small employers with less than 50 employees should avoid looking at this threshold as a “get out of jail free card.” Every employer has a responsibility and an obligation to provide a safe and harassment free environment. Not to mention that in most cases, employers are held responsible for any harassment that occurs on the premises or in connection with the employment relationship. Don’t be the next Uber.
Calchamber is a great resource for employers providing harassment prevention information and tools to employers at a very reasonable cost. They offer information on how to investigate and resolve sexual harassment complaints (along with examples and forms), potential liability associated with sexual harassment claims, and webinar training that satisfies the California Sexual Harassment training requirements. Although Calchamber requires a membership for access to their services and tools, I highly encourage employers in the state of California (regardless of size) to make the investment. They offer a free 15-day trial for those who are curious and want to explore their services without making the monetary commitment.
For more information, go to www.calchamber.com. If there was ever a time to be vigilant and take a stand against sexual harassment, the time is now.