California workers should never have to go to work and face a hostile work environment created by someone’s inappropriate sexual comments, jokes or harassing behavior. Even if the behavior does not cross the line to sexual assault, workers still have employment law protections against unwanted sexual advances and other sexual harassment.

Following a scandal with the mayor of the city of San Diego, the city has agreed to train its supervising employees about sexual harassment as part of a settlement with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

In this settlement, the city does not admit to liability but does agree that city officials — including elected officials — will be given at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training. This training must take place within six months of the person’s election or hire. Furthermore, the city agreed to repeat this training at least every two years following the initial session. For the next five years, the city must report to the state every six months to show that this training is taking place.

Requiring this training will hopefully provide a safer environment for all of the city’s employees. Mandatory sexual harassment training is just one of the things that employers can be ordered to do if they are found to be allowing sexual harassment to occur.

California workers who have been subject to sexual harassment should not be afraid to speak up and exercise their legal rights. Not only can they help to prevent future sexual harassment from occurring in that workplace, the employee may be eligible for compensation.

Source: U-T San Diego, “S.D. SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING PROOF REQUIRED,” Trent Seibert, Dec. 25, 2013