December 2016
Image for display purposes only.
California Employers Association - The California Employer's Report. The Information Newsletter for Today's Employer
Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.
In This Issue:
•   A Message From Kim...
Image for display purposes only.
•   FLSA Overtime Rule on Indefinite Hold
Image for display purposes only.
•   New I-9 Form Now Available!
Image for display purposes only.
•   Trainer’s Tips—Why Career Transition Services Matter
Image for display purposes only.
•   Counsel's Corner: Harassment Claims—Very Real, Very Expensive
Image for display purposes only.
•   Marijuana is Legal in California
Image for display purposes only.
•   Mandatory Poster Change for 2017
Image for display purposes only.
•   Member Notice
Image for display purposes only.
•   Register now for a 2017 Employment and Labor Law Forum
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.
Features

December-January Events


Webinars

Employer Forums
2017 Labor and Employment Law Update
Are you headed in the right direction?


Harassment Prevention AB1825—Fresno
December 6
Approved for HRCI and SHRM Credits

Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.
Tools & Links
•   Employer Resources
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
•   Forward to a friend
Image for display purposes only.
•   Print this issue
Image for display purposes only.
•   Subscribe
Image for display purposes only.
•   Search back issues
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.
Who We Are
•   About Us
Image for display purposes only.
•   CEA Staff
Image for display purposes only.
•   CEA Partners
Image for display purposes only.
•   Contact Us
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only.
Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.

 


Image for display purposes only.
Counsel's Corner: Harassment Claims—Very Real, Very Expensive
While sexual harassment has been in everyone’s vocabulary since Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five graced screens in 1980, it has become a topic of increased importance and media coverage as more and more sexual harassment claims are brought against celebrities such as Bill Cosby, President-Elect Donald Trump, and former President Bill Clinton.  While you or your employees may not identify with these over-the-top personalities in positions of power, sexual harassment claims are very real and very expensive.

For example, a recent claim against the popular P.F. Chang’s China Bistro chain cost the company $1 million in response to two employees’ claims that they were repeatedly sexually harassed and were subjected to a hostile work environment. According to the arbitrator’s written order, both women said they were subjected to offensive comments and conduct from the male kitchen staff at the restaurants, including jokes about sex, remarks about female workers’ bodies, and kissing and whistling noises aimed at female employees as they walked by. In addition, one of the women said she saw a group of male kitchen employees watching a pornographic video on a smartphone, and she frequently heard the cooks singing sexually explicit songs in the rear of the restaurant in University City.  The reality is that these activities occur more often than you might think.

Because sexual harassment incidents cause social, economic, and psychological damage to victims, and cost employers significantly in terms of time, money, and lost productivity, it is important to prevent these incidents or mitigate them as soon as they occur.   

What Is Sexual Harassment?

The Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) regulations define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances; or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The following is a partial list of violations:

• Unwanted sexual advances

• Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors

• Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances

• Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoon or posters

• Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, and jokes

• Verbal sexual advances or propositions

• Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations

• Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements

Employer Liability

Under California law, employers are strictly liable when a supervisor or manager is responsible for the harassment. This means that the employer can be held liable for the acts of its employee even if there is no finding of fault by the employer, or even if management was not aware of the harassment. In addition, California Government Code Section 12940(k) requires that all employers “take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.”

What can you do to reduce risk of sexual harassment claims?

1. Distribute DFEH Pamphlet

First, every employer must provide each of their employees with the DFEH pamphlet “Sexual Harassment is Forbidden by Law,” available for free download in English and Spanish.  

2. Post DFEH Poster

Second, employers must help ensure a workplace free from sexual harassment by posting in the workplace the most recent poster made available by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

3. Sexual Harassment Training

Third, 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. However, as a best practice, it is recommend that all employees of receive sexual harassment training as a way to minimize potential incidents among employees of all ranks, regardless of the size of the company.

4. Develop a Policy for Bringing and Review of Complaints

Fourth, the employer should develop a clear procedure for the bringing of complaints by victims of sexual harassment that includes immediate review and response by management.

5. Seek Professional Counsel

Finally, it is essential that employees are well-informed of the serious consequences that result when sexual harassment laws are violated. If you have any questions about how to effectively educate your employees about sexual harassment, or would like to audit your business policies, employment documents, or Employee Handbook, speak with CEA or a licensed California attorney.

—Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.
      Founder, The Grady Firm, PC,
      jgrady@gradyfirm.com
Share this article:  LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Image for display purposes only.
< Previous Article Top Next Article >
Image for display purposes only.

Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only. Image for display purposes only.

 Newest Members 
Adtek Inc.—Turlock, CA
Marines' Memorial Association—San Francisco, CA
George's Auto Supply—Madera, CA
Resource Management Services, Inc.—Santa Fe Springs, CA
CAPCA—Sacramento, CA
Clean Earth Restorations—El Cajon, CA

Milestones
Celebrating your membership with CEA through the years!
Friedman Bros. Hardware Inc.—27 years
Rafael Convalescent Hospital—58 years
Jack's Carwash Co.—27 years
PrideStaff—38 years
CMA Dishmachines—37 years
Davison Iron Works Inc.—30 years
Redwood General Tire Service Co.—27 years
Marin Endodontics—27 years
Associated Lighting Representative Inc.—27 years
Harrison & Bonini—27 years
Western Pacific Distributors—27 years

Image for display purposes only.
California Employers Association - 1451 River Park Drive, Suite 116, Sacramento, CA 95815 800 399-5331 www.employers.org

The California Employer's report is an opinion and discussion magazine for CEA membership. Opinions expressed by authors are their own, and not necessarily those of CEA. CEA reserves the right to edit all contributions for clarity and length, as well as reject any material submitted.

This report is intended to inform employers of current development in labor law and employer/employee related issues. It is not intended to provide legal advice to deal with subjects addressed in this edition. Information is gathered from sources believed to be reliable. CEA, however, cannot be responsible for its accuracy.

To ensure delivery of The California Employer's Report, please add 'ceainfo@employers.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, see our white-listing page for more details.

Copyright. © California Employers Association. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or otherwise copied (except members of the California Employers Association may copy all or part of this publication exclusively for personal use or use in the operation of that member’s industry business other than a publication) without prior written permission from the publisher. For permission to make photocopies, contact CEA at 800.399.5331.

DISCLAIMER: The Employer’s Report is educational and information in nature, and not intended as legal, expert or other professional advice, or as any form of recommended minimum standard or best practice. The accuracy and appropriateness of the information presented herein is dependent upon the actual facts and circumstances in each particular situation, all (facts and circumstances) of which are unknown to CEA. As such, CEA DOES NOT CERTIFY OR GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY OR APPROPRIATENESS OF THE INFORMATION OR IDEAS PRESENTED HEREIN, AND DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE. CEA does not endorse, nor has it accredited, certified or approved any of the persons or entities providing materials herein. Users are advised to carefully review the ideas and information presented herein with qualified human resources and legal advisors prior to acting upon or implementing said ideas and information.
Image for display purposes only.