California state law requires employers to train supervisors about sexual harassment. A human resources expert from HRM Consulting, however, said that the training does not create a sufficient effect on workplaces. Two-thirds of classes for supervisors are online courses, and she believes that they lack the impact that offline seminars could offer, especially if they included face-to-face contact with actual victims.
Many employers have policies that are meant to provide employees with a means of reporting sexual harassment. Companies added these policies because they wanted to avoid liability after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two cases in 1998. Critics consider most company policies to be superficial and ineffective at stopping illegal behavior in the workplace.
According to surveys of employees, about one in four women report on-the-job harassment. The director of workplace equality at the National Women's Law Center said many people do not report their workplace problems because they fear job loss and negative views from their friends and peers. Since there is no way to measure people who do not speak up, lawyers and employment experts say the number of harassment victims could actually be much higher.
Sexual harassment can take many forms. A person might feel pressured to grant sexual favors to a boss or be demoted after refusing an advance. A workplace where employees routinely make lewd comments or circulate offensive media could create a hostile environment for a person. A person with concerns about workplace conduct could discuss them with an employment law attorney. Definitions of sexual harassment could be explained by the attorney. An attorney might also guide the person through the steps for reporting the harassment and collecting evidence for a lawsuit. Legal action might result in the victim receiving compensation for lost wages and other damages.