$450,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement Highlights the Seriousness of the Problem
Employers are well aware that sexual harassment is unlawful under both California and federal law, but that doesn’t stop the problem from occurring. Sex discrimination charges (which include sexual harassment charges) constitute nearly one-third of all claims filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2014, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing received 4,312 complaints of sexual harassment – nearly 25% of all complaints filed.
Recently, the EEOC settled a sexual harassment case for $450,000. The EEOC charged a packing company with violating federal law by subjecting more than a dozen women to regular verbal sexual harassment and unwelcome sexual conduct, including sexual comments and gestures, propositioning and inappropriate touching.
In addition, management did not respond to complaints, according to the EEOC, and three women were discharged for refusing to submit to harassment or making complaints about harassment to management. The harassment continued for several years.
“This type of misconduct that is allowed to go on over a period of several years – with a number of different women experiencing a gauntlet of harassment from the same supervisor – has no place in the workplace,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.
California companies with 50 or more employees are required by law to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter.
Regardless of company size, harassment prevention training for all supervisors and employees is recommended.
CalChamber offers an online, interactive 2-Hour California Harassment Prevention Training making it easy to educate employees and fulfill compliance obligations.