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How to combat sexual harassment when you're not Oprah

In her powerful acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, Oprah declared, "Their time is up!" referring to those who have habitually gotten away with sexual harassment in a variety of workplaces. Her words created quite at stir in the audience, not to mention the Twitter storm that erupted in the following days speculating on whether the television and entertainment star would run for president in the 2020 elections.

New legislation may help keep hotel workers safe

A proposed bill in California would require hotels to provide panic buttons to employees. These buttons would allow employees to seek assistance if they are threatened or other put in danger by a guest. According to one of the bill's authors, the intent is to protect maids and other staff who may have to go into a room by themselves from potential sexual harassment. In July 2017, 500 hotel and casino workers affiliated with an Illinois labor union responded to a survey about sexual harassment.

EEOC has filed few lawsuits over harassment complaints

Sexual harassment is unfortunately too common in workplaces throughout California. Victims of sexual harassment at work are protected by both state and federal laws. To file a lawsuit against an employer for sexual harassment, a victim may need to take certain steps, such as notifying their human resources department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to recent reports, the EEOC has filed few lawsuits over the sexual harassment claims it has received.

Celebrity chef accused of sexual harassment

California residents, like people across the United States, have likely seen the news reports of late detailing alleged sexual harassment by men in positions of power. These men work in a variety of fields, ranging from the entertainment industry to the business world and politics. Recently, another name was added to the list of men who were accused and admitted to engaging in sexual harassment. Renowned Chef Mario Batali has been accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by numerous women, many of whom made their accusations anonymously.

Strategies for employers to reduce discrimination and harassment

The stream of headlines about high-profile people and celebrities accused of sexual harassment suggests that the misconduct could be widespread at workplaces in California. These accusations about famous people typically included employers who turned a blind eye to ongoing harassment. This highlights the need for companies to foster a culture that discourages harassment and discrimination and promptly addresses allegations.

Sexual harassment may be tough to prove

California residents and others may have noticed the public discussion surrounding sexual harassment in American society. Despite the recent media attention, only 3 to 6 percent of sexual harassment cases filed by employees actually make it to trial. This is partially because the standard for a case to rise to sexual harassment is high. According to the Supreme Court, harassment must be severe or pervasive to qualify as harassment.

Congress decides to require sexual harassment training

Growing concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace in California and nationwide have reached the nation's capital. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have both chosen to create training policies that teach elected officials and their staff members how to prevent harassment and discrimination.

The importance of taking steps to prevent sexual harassment

Some California employers may wrongly believe that sexual harassment would never happen in their companies. As recent news reports demonstrate, sexual harassment can happen in any industry. It is important for businesses to take steps to help to prevent people from being harassed at their companies and to end harassment that they discover.

Dealing with harassment when HR does nothing

If a worker in California or elsewhere is being harassed, it may be possible to go to HR to resolve the issue. However, HR doesn't always have the best interests of an employee in mind when dealing with such issues. In some cases, employees may not even know who to talk with or be able to locate that person in a timely or convenient manner.

Ways men can help reduce sexual harassment incidents

For many men, the topic of sexual harassment at work can be difficult to navigate, especially with the spotlight being turned on how often it occurs against women in particular. However, men do have the power to be proactive when it comes to helping to prevent it from occurring in California workplaces.

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