California law is specific and stringent when it comes to sexual harassment. An employer needs to follow through with reports of this behavior swiftly and with what will be an effective “corrective action.” Learn how to meet California sexual harassment training guidelines at https://www.hourly.io/post/california-sexual-harassment-training-requirements/. The steps that an employer should follow will include the following measures:
Immediately responding with corrective action meant to protect staff from harassing behavior pending in-house investigations.
Intensive investigation initiated and completed relating to the harassment complaint.
A prompt response issued to each party involved in the harassment complaint regarding the investigation results, followed by
Adequate corrective action following the company’s anti-harassment regulations.
In following the guidelines that the company has set up with its in-house regulations on anti-harassment, the employer has the potential for:
Protecting the business leader from the possibility of liability with a harassment lawsuit as defined under the “FEHA” or “California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.”
If the business leader cannot avoid the possibility of liability, following the appropriate guidelines can diminish the “economic damage” brought from the lawsuit.
An employer always wants to be prompt, thorough, and reactive in responding to a harassment claim. That’s whether sexual or non-sexual and regardless of who the claimant is, whether a leader in the company or a non-leader.
The employer has the responsibility to ensure harassing behavior stops. Still, given the circumstance, it doesn’t necessarily always mean that the allegations are always genuine or that the harasser must be fired from their position.
The suggestion is to follow steps comparable to those in the next section when an employee approaches a leader with claims of harassment. Let’s move forward.
What Steps Will An Employer Follow When Approached With Claims of Sexual Harassment
California law is specific that an employer responds promptly, thoroughly, and reactively when approached with a claim of sexual harassment. The employer faces a lawsuit if they don’t follow sufficient protocol in investigation and corrective action for the behavior.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that each claim of harassment will be one that is genuine or that a harasser will permanently lose their position with the company. Still, each incident needs to be considered a factual claim and investigated as such.
When a business leader is approached, the suggestion is to follow steps comparable to these to comply with company sexual harassment training guidelines and California’s sexual harassment laws. Go here to learn if your company is prepared with adequate sexual harassment training.
● Listen to the allegations actively and with close attention to documenting the claims
The business leader needs to pay close attention to every detail of the allegations. The staff member will find the employer an ally when they feel heard, plus each element is essential to note in gathering the facts.
That will allow an appropriate investigation and help dictate the sort of corrective action that will deem necessary for these circumstances.
● Action needs to take effect immediately
Until an investigation can be completed, there will need to be an immediate response. An investigation is a timely process since the objective is to be full, thorough, and intensive. In the meantime, the staff needs to be safe and protected from the potential for further harassment.
Taking this action will depend largely on the surrounding circumstances. Still, the aim is to prevent further adverse behavior or the potential for “workplace retaliation” against the individual placing the complaint. That can further put the employer at the detriment of liability.
● The investigation should be thorough albeit prompt
The most relevant and critical step in the process is the investigation of the allegations of harassment. Experts on California law suggest that business leaders consider employing the services of a third-party neutral, qualified party to handle the complaint investigation, something that would require permission from the complainant.
The third-party will usually have a legal background and will ensure that “reasonable, good faith conclusions are drawn” based on “rational conclusions and acting in good faith.”
● Advising the parties of the investigation results from the allegations
The investigation results must be promptly reported to the parties involved in the claim. These should be written, explaining the conclusion, and reiterating the company’s guidelines on harassment with an outline describing what will transpire to ensure this behavior doesn’t occur moving forward.
If the business leader believes that harassment occurred according to the FEHA distinction, all reasonable steps should be followed, which could include the harasser’s termination.
Even if the investigation is inconclusive, it will still be necessary to make the environment comfortable and safe for the claimant by in some way separating the two from working in close proximity.
It might be necessary to update the existing training and set up a session for the entire organization when an incident occurs, not revealing anyone’s confidentiality but using the experience to educate and inform.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.