Sexual Harassment, Prevention & Resolution

The California law makes it unlawful for any California employer “to fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.” Therefore, an employer must educate its management and workforce on the meaning and scope of harassment laws, issue “zero tolerance” policies, and take to all other common-sense measures to head off and eliminate such practices from the workplace.

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful workplace discrimination, singling out individuals due to gender. Management and co-workers are all subject to such prohibition. Unwelcome and inappropriate conduct is illegal whether aimed at men, women, or individuals of the opposite or same sex. Examples include sexual jokes or innuendos, displaying images of a sexual nature, hindering another’s movements, or demanding inappropriate physical contact.

When an employer is charged with sexual harassment, management’s reaction may range from fear and uncertainty to outrage over dubious charges. Regardless of the claim’s validity, the employer’s response must adhere to federal and state anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation statutes. If not, the company further jeopardizes its legal position.