How can sexual harassment training in the workplace protect my company from liability in Hawaii?
- Dissemination of a comprehensive policy statement which defines sexual harassment, explains grievance procedures and disciplinary sanctions against harassers, and states the employer’s strong disapproval of sexual harassment.
- A grievance procedure which promptly handles complaints with sensitivity, confidentiality, and fairness.
- Taking immediate, appropriate corrective action if sexual harassment is found to have occurred.
- Training of supervisory personnel about their specific responsibilities, and training of all employees about the sexual harassment policy and grievance procedures.
This is according to Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapters 368 & 378, and Hawai‘i Administrative Rule (HAR) 12-46-109. View document Here.
The EEOC is the federal governing body that describes and enforces sexual harassment and discrimination laws. 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).
The EEOC found that in 2018, of the 254 workplace discrimination charges filed in Hawaii, 38.2% were related to sexual harassment.
In 2019, a Texas based Contracting company paid a $200,000 to a Honolulu based female employee in a sexual harassment lawsuit settlement. The employee was harassed by male supervisors and co-workers and subsequently retaliated against when she complained. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the District Court of Hawaii and also put the employer under a consent decree. The decree states that the company must provide in-person sexual harassment and retaliation training for all employees and managers among other measures to prevent sexual harassment. Read more on the story Here.
There are a number of steps the EEOC recommends that employers take to reduce their chances of liability for 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 Hawaii hotels: