State Law Requires Supervisors to Get Sexual Harassment Prevention Training by January 2006

UCSF is implementing a mandatory training program to comply with a new state law requiring sexual harassment prevention education for all supervisors. The UCSF sexual harassment prevention training schedule is posted online here. The California legislature is requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors mandatory training in sexual harassment prevention by Jan. 1, 2006. The new state law also creates a need to monitor and maintain records of those trained. Campuswide notification about AB 1825 requiring mandatory training and education in sexual harassment prevention for supervisors every two years has been released to administrators, faculty, supervisors and managers. "The response has been positive. Though we have had a proactive education program in sexual harassment prevention since 1993, this legal requirement will cause UCSF to take a more thorough approach in monitoring compliance with its intent," says Joyce Hammel, sexual harassment campus coordinator since 1998. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, experts say. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. "I think we have done that fairly well in the past 10 years," says Alma Sisco-Smith, director of the Work~Life Resource Center. The Work~Life Resource Center completed a 10-year report detailing UCSF's commitment and progress on campus in reducing sexual harassment. From 1993 to 2003, UCSF has conducted a total of 384 training sessions, and 13,524 employees were trained in sexual harassment prevention. UCSF has seen a dramatic decline in damages paid out to employees reporting sexual harassment. In 1993, when the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention was established on campus, UCSF settled cases paying six figures. By 1998, that amount was reduced to zero. Since 1998, UCSF has paid less than $10,000 to date, according to the Work~Life Resource Center. UCSF has placed high value on educating the campus community on appropriate workplace behavior. Training in the first few years had a heavy focus on women students and postdoctoral fellows to help them understand that inappropriate behavior, such as sexual harassment, is not tolerated and would be taken seriously when the University became aware that it was occurring. Emphasis on roles and responsibilities with faculty and staff, including management briefings for supervisors, continues to be an ongoing commitment at UCSF. Experts say it is helpful for the victim to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. If the behavior continues, the victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available. At UCSF, sexual harassment complaint resolution procedures have been established to respond to the sensitive nature of sexual harassment. The policy and procedures describe the options and resources available to faculty, postdoctoral scholars, staff, students, patients/clients and visitors for resolution of sexual harassment situations. The policies reflect UCSF's continuing determination to deal firmly, fairly, and evenly with all occurrences. For UCSF policies and procedures, go here. Source: Lisa Cisneros

Related Links

The Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention & Resolution