A 2018 California law stating that all employers must offer anti-sexual harassment training to employees by Jan. 1, 2020 has a new training option. The DFHE recently released an online training course which gives an overview of how to identify and deal with sexual harassment in California. The course offers participants a certificate which they can print to prove their completion and is valid for up to 2 years. While Federal law covers businesses with 15 or more employees from harassment or discrimination, California covers businesses with only 1 or more employees. This shows that California is doing everything it can to not only decrease harassment cases, but also create awareness and a large support system.
New Free Online Training Course
A 1-hour long training course offered by the DFHE since May 20, 2020 gives a general overview of what sexual harassment is, how to identify and act on it. It begins by briefly stating how the law views sexual harassment in California so that all participants are aware of their responsibilities.
It is also important to note that employees, supervisors, and/or employers can be personally liable for damages if sued for sexual harassment. In terms of business organization, this may be one of the most important factors contributing to unsafe spaces.
“The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine study found that the single most important factor in predicting sexual harassment is the organizational climate of the company,” the video continues. “ Companies that promote cultures of respect create a workplace that harassment is less likely to occur in the first place.” Thus, the working atmosphere or climate of any business or company should be analyzed to promote healthy relationships and denounce bad behavior.
A Culture of Respect in the Workplace
One important way to deal with sexual harassment in California is creating mutual respect between peers in any environment. That’s why the DFHE puts forth a set of guidelines that can contribute to creating a culture of respect among peers in any workplace:
“Problems in the workplace can start with rude or uncivil behavior that goes unaddressed. Silence equals acceptance to most people. Once this behavior is accepted, it will get worse. Unprofessional behavior can turn into bullying or illegal harassment or assault in the workplace.
Coming forward to report inappropriate or harassing behavior may be difficult. It’s hard to come forward, but only when we speak up can we change the culture of our workplaces to not tolerate uncivil and harassing behavior.”
Rude behavior such as excluding others, not saying ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’, interrupting, and use of sarcasm is also considered harassment. In many instances, coworkers can even use yelling, threats to dismiss or leave a bad review, false rumors, and humiliation to harass others. Victims of harassment can communicate how they feel by saying: “This makes me uncomfortable,” or “I don’t like that kind of language.” Bystanders can also use tactics such as distracting the harasser or engaging in direct conversation with him/her, and offering their support to the victim. Eliminating these behaviors will help to create a workplace of respect in which every person can thrive and feel comfortable.
Awareness Is Key
The purpose of the training by the DFHE is to create awareness since not everyone realizes their actions and habits may make others uncomfortable. The rise of the #MeToo movement empowered many people to speak out against harassment in the workplace, and powerful people had to face the consequences. In fact, many seek a California sexual harassment lawyer who serves the entire state, as a company may not be based where the harassment took place. But if you don’t want to spend time and money on lawyers and risk losing your job, you’re better off taking this simple training course.