How can sexual harassment training in the workplace protect my company from liability in Alabama?
The EEOC is the federal governing body that describes and enforces sexual harassment and discrimination laws. Read more at (EEOC Harassment). According to the EEOC sexual harassment and other forms of employment discrimination violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).
In 2018, of the 2,488 workplace discrimination claims in Alabama, 33% of all claims were related to sexual harassment. That year we highlight a case where the EEOC sued a company in Alabama over the sexual harassment of two female employees. You can view the EEOC News Release. It was found that a supervisor was performing lewd acts in front of the women as well as pressuring them for unwelcome sexual requests with the threat of retaliation. What is sexual harassment retaliation? Sexual harassment retaliation occurs when an employee is subjected to punishment as revenge for making a sexual harassment allegation. Ultimately this situation resulted in one of the women being terminated after resisting the advances of her supervisor.
It was determined that these actions constituted sexual harassment which is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The company was found liable and the lawsuit sought monetary damages. Furthermore, It was found that the company had no anti-harassment policy, no process for employees to report complaints or grievances, and no training for employees or supervisors on sexual harassment or other forms of workplace discrimination and how to report them.
So what can companies learn from this experience?
Take steps recomended by the EEOC for employers to take which can reduce their chances of liability in sexual harassment claims.
- Implementing a strong and well understood sexual harassment policy.
- Providing a robust sexual harassment training program for training employees and supervisors.
- Establishing an effective complaint and grievance process, within which the employees do not have to fear retaliation.
- An employer should act Immediately to investigate any complaint or grievance.
- The employer should take immediate steps such as disciplinary action to stop harassment.
- Employees should be encouraged to confront the harasser directly and inform them that the conduct is inappropriate as well as informing management and Human Resources
Sexual Harassment Training Tip: Prevention is the BEST tool.
By ensuring that employees understand and are well trained in workplace sexual harassment policies, employers can greatly reduce their chances of being liable for monetary damages in sexual harassment cases.
Our onsite Sexual Harassment training seminars are also available in the following Alabama hotels:
1000 Riverchase Galleria
Birmingham, AL 35244
Renaissance Hotel & Spa
Montgomery, AL, 36104