Workplace harassment is a pervasive problem across the state of California and all over the country. Nobody should have to exist in a workplace involving offensive jokes, slurs, assaults, mockery or anything of this vein that interferes with work performance.
Harassment can occur in any workplace and has a variety of forms. It is illegal for a workplace to condone unwelcome conduct based on the attributes of any protected class. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prevention is the absolute best tool when it comes to eliminating harassment in the workplace.
How can employers prevent harassment?
Employers should, by purview of both Federal and California laws, take appropriate steps to prevent and correct harassment. It is vital that employers communicate clearly to their employees that the company cannot and will not tolerate any harassing conduct. Often, the best way to do this is to facilitate a grievance process. Anti-harassment training for managers and employees is also a good strategy.
Finally, employers must take immediate action when an employee complains about harassment.
How can employees prevent harassment?
The first step an employee should take is to tell the harasser that the conduct is not welcome and it must stop. Often, this is enough to stop minor harassment.
However, this is not enough in all situations. In this case, the employee should report the harassment to management. Ideally, the employee should report this at an early stage in order to prevent escalation. Should this fail to rectify the situation, the employee has the right to make a complaint to the EEOC or to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.