2017 sure felt like it was the year of harassment. It seemed like every day or two there were new high-profile stories of sexual harassment claims in the news. You didn’t just see the claims though; there were social media movements like #metoo that started, or were rejuvenated as more and more survivors came forward. You don’t have to work for someone rich and powerful to suffer from sexual harassment; just ask any workplace attorney. Out of the fire of all of this hurt, came Senate Bill 396.
What is Senate Bill 396?
Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill on October 15, 2017. This new law requires employers with 50 or more employees to expand their already required two-hour sexual harassment training. In addition to the standard sexual harassment training, supervisors will receive training on policies prohibiting harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. All employees in supervisory capacities receive this training once every two years.
What Does All That Mean?
The California Fair Employment and Housing Council have definitions for “sex”, “gender”, “gender identity”, “gender expression”, and “transgender”. Each of these items are independent of the others as well. Because of Senate Bill 396, the already-required training will cover how to avoid harassment based on these items. This way, there will be less of a need for sexual harassment claims, and better protections for transgender individuals in the workplace.
So, What Should You Do If You Think You Need to File Sexual Harassment Claims?
Even with additional training, there will still be sexual harassment claims. If you’re in this unfortunate situation, you need to take advantage of your protections. No one should have to worry about sexual harassment, and that includes you. The first thing you should do after your sexual harassment is contact a labor attorney. You’re going to want a professional on your side.
Fighting back against sexual harassment claims starts before they ever happen. Try to have a plan of action if it happens. Freezing up in the moment is very common, and if this happens to you, don’t feel bad. However, if you’ve thought about how to handle the situation, your loud and clear message in the moment may not just establish that the advances were unwanted, but possibly end any problems before they can really start.
Once you find yourself in the situation of having to file sexual harassment claims, you’ll want to write down everything. Write down when you were harassed, what they said, and who was around to hear it. Do this as quickly as you can. Memories fade, but if you write it down right away you will have crystal-clear accounting. Document everything, from requests for sexual favors, to anything you think might have been retaliation for fighting back. Save every email, every memo. However, don’t record this using work property; use the notes app on your phone, or keep your own paper notebook on hand.
Remember, this is not your fault, and you’re not alone. Men and women deal with sexual harassment every day. If you need help with sexual harassment claims, or any type of workplace discrimination, the Law Offices of Cathe L. Caraway-Howard are here for you. Call (310) 488-9020, or visit the website to see how they’ll fight for you.