Jurors handed down a decision Feb. 24 in one of the most high-profile cases of sexual misconduct allegations in the workplace — the lawsuit against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
He received a guilty verdict in New York recently and will face up to 25 years in prison. Weinstein’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 11. He also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in California.
Since the #MeToo movement escalated a little over two years ago, we have continued to see news reports of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Just recently, in November 2019, a lawsuit against a major East Coast headhunting firm said the company failed to appropriately discipline an executive who allegedly committed sexual harassment, according to the New York Post. The allegations regarding the executive’s behavior were egregious and included physical assault, inappropriate communication and behavior, and crude drawings of private body parts posted in plain view.
The employee who reported the behavior claims she was forced out of her job as a result. The company now must:
- Pay New York City a $155,000 penalty for its executive’s behavior
- Provide new sexual harassment prevention training to its employees
- Change its HR policies
- Identify an independent counsel or HR firm to handle the company’s harassment complaints
Addressing Workplace Misconduct
Employers need to be mindful of workplace behaviors and investigate and address any issues immediately. And as the above referenced cases demonstrate, this includes issues from frontline employees all the way up to the executive suite.
Related: Romance in the Workplace – What Employers Need to Know
In my experience, companies generally want to do the right thing and prevent behaviors that can affect productivity, morale, retention and recruiting. One way to do this is to provide harassment prevention training for all employees. Since the onset of #MeToo, seven states and one city have passed laws requiring such training.
Following is a list of the states and the city that require sexual harassment prevention training with a brief overview of applicable requirements.
In addition to the information below, the training in each jurisdiction may require specific content or manner of training. Many of these laws require that the training be interactive. Employers should consult with their employment counsel to make sure their training meets the specific requirements of each jurisdiction in which their employees work.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements