November 15, 2017
What is the difference between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct? Does it even matter? Typically Sexual Harassment is unwanted sexual advances connected with employment and/or the working environment. Sexual Misconduct is not employment related and can occur between your staff and clients, between clients, or with the general public.
It seems we hear about a new allegation of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the news nearly every day, especially with more people coming forward by using #MeToo to bring awareness to just how prevalent sexual harassment and assault are in society. Often the incidents occurred many years in the past. It is a good reminder for nonprofits to strengthen their policies and procedures. All employers in California must have a written harassment, discrimination and retaliation policy that is distributed and acknowledged by all employees. You should also make sure that you have appropriate investigation procedures in place if you receive an allegation.
California requires employers with 50 or more employees and/or independent contractors in any state, to provide sexual harassment training to all supervisors located in California. This training must meet specific requirements regarding duration, frequency, instructors, content, delivery and record keeping. While there is no requirement for non-supervisor training, it is highly recommended.
Several different policies may be involved in a potential claim depending on the relationship between the parties and the specific allegations. Policies that may be called to respond include General Liability, Professional Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Directors & Officers Liability, and Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Abuse/Molestation policies. We strongly suggest discussing your specific exposures with our knowledgeable Property Casualty team.
For more information on California’s sexual harassment training requirements, see Sexual harassment FAQs – DFEH.