The Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 Law
Is it Really Necessary?
Even though the Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 law was enacted to protect employees from sexual harassment I wonder if it is effective. You see I have been involved in a number of sexual harassment investigations and completely understand the importance of insuring that individuals within the workplace are protected against it. However, I don’t feel another law, like the one put into effect at the end of 2005 called the Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 law. Companies have enough on their plates already without yet another law to make sure they don’t violate.
An employee came into my office that day and claimed her supervisor had raped her!
One of the most difficult sexual harassment claims I ever handled happened in California when I was a Human Resources Director for a large hotel chain. Even though the incident happened long before the Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 law was enacted. It would not have changed anything that happened. I had already implemented a strong sexual harassment policy and conducted training with not only our supervisory staff, but also our regular employees.
An employee came into my office that day and claimed her supervisor had raped her! I was stunned to say the least that such a horrible and tragic event could have happened under my watch. Whether the California AB1825 law was on the books or not, would not have changed the fact that this was a very serious allegation and must be handled correctly and with extreme sensitivity toward the claimant. One of the first things I asked was if she would feel more comfortable with a female manager present as she explained to me what had taken place. She agreed that she wanted a female manager present, and I was of course relieved at that.
Because she claimed her supervisor raped her it goes against the whole idea of the Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 law in that it targets supervisors knowing how to protect their employees against it. Or at least one phase of the training is directed at that. In this situation the supervisor who was supposed to guard against and or identify threats was the person who actually violated the law, if she was telling the truth. As the facts unraveled we discovered that she was not raped; however, there was no doubt about sexual harassment.
The Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 law doesn’t do anything to help with that process. If anything it increases the likelihood of false claims.
As a Human Resources Director anytime a claim of sexual harassment is made the truth is always what we are aiming to get at since it is such a damaging claim. If the claim is true the claimant must deal with the horror of the event and must be protected against future harassment. If the claim is false then the person being charged with sexual harassment may experience unnecessary harm to their family situation. In both cases it can bring severe harm to either party if we are wrong. The California AB1825 doesn’t do anything to help with that process. If anything it increases the likelihood of false claims.
I am a very strong advocate for protecting everyone’s rights within the workplace. A workplace should be somewhere that employees can feel safe to do their jobs, free from harassment or discrimination. As far as I am concerned the Sexual Harassment in California AB1825 only brings more attention to sexual harassment, which I guess isn’t a bad thing. But I would argue that California should have placed more attention on the laws that are already on the books, rather than create new ones that only cloud the issue more.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
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