With so much time being devoted to work, the ability to work in a healthy, discrimination-free work environment is essential. Surveys report that between 40 - 70% of all working women and between 10 – 20% of all working men have experienced harassment in the workplace. Over the last 20 years there has been a 7.9% increase of charges received by the EEOC for cases involving sexual harassment. These charges have led to company settlements exceeding $52 million in 2011 alone. While proper training cannot eliminate the potential for a claim, taking appropriate steps to avoid sexual harassment can substantially reduce your company's exposure.
While Title VII provides federal guidelines regarding the prevention of sexual harassment, you should look to your state specific guidelines to determine whether you are required to provide employee training. Companies with locations in California are required to follow the FEHA guidelines. As of 2005, California's AB 1825 requires companies with 50 employees or more to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors within six months of hire or promotion.
Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 affords employees the right to work in an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult whether based on sex, race, color, religion, or national origin.
California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental and physical disability, medical condition, age, pregnancy, denial of medical and family care leave, or pregnancy disability leave.