Two employees at a 99 Cents Only store in Redding alleged that an assistant manager sexually assaulted them in a walk-in freezer, and the store retaliated against them after they complained. The DFEH recently reached a settlement of $1.2 million in this matter.
Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill (SB) 778. Effective immediately, this bill extends the deadline for employers with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training by one year—from January 1, 2020 until January 1, 2021.
Recently, the DFEH settled a harassment case for $450,000. The DFEH charged a mobile home park with violating California law by subjecting an employee to sex and national origin harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Companies defending against claims of harassment or discrimination might sometimes use the "equal opportunity jerk" defense. If this is the best defense your organization has, be careful! Not only is this a weak defense, but it can and will get your company in hot water.
A new law for next year, SB 1343, requires that all employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and 2 hours of harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to managerial employees by January 1, 2020.
When it comes to preventing workplace harassment, a recent study by SHRM has mixed reviews. While there is some progress, there is also an absence of an overall cultural shift. For instance, two-thirds of executives have not changed their behaviors at all.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates that 75% of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported. Oftentimes this occurs because the would-be-reporter is afraid of retaliation. In other words, the ‘kill the messenger’ syndrome is alive and well in bullying, as it is in sexual harassment.