Before we blink it will be the end of the year, so don’t forget that 2013 is a sexual harassment prevention training year for many California employers. If you started training in 2005 when AB 1825 became effective, then every odd year is the time to re-train all managers and supervisors. Training must be 2 hours every 2 years, and within 6 months of hire or transfer to California.

I have been conducting training for many clients since 2005. For some loyal clients this year it was my 5th time training the same group! It can be hard to keep the same material fresh and relevant, but this year, I simply looked to the headlines.

Of course, the most relevant headline this year was former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Mayor Filner’s story is an excellent vehicle to discuss many harassment issues including:

  • If the allegations are true (such as the alleged suggestion that the employee work without panties, or attempted sloppy kisses, or repeated requests for dates), is that “severe” or “pervasive” under the law?
  • How does a he-said vs. she-said situation change when others speak up with similar allegations? How many people need to speak up to make the allegations more believable?
  • What is the relevance of such “me-too” evidence? What should it be?
  • Does it matter if the alleged harasser did not undergo mandatory harassment training? Should it?
  • What is the duty of an employer to indemnify a manager for a lawsuit brought by an employee? What should it be?
  • Was it fair that alleged conduct in violation of a harassment policy can cause someone to lose his or her job? What is an employer’s obligation to protect its employees vs. the alleged harasser?

The alleged facts and the issues raised in the Filner saga are excellent fodder for discussion, and remember, the training is supposed to be interactive. So don’t forget to train your managers in 2013 and keep it interesting for them by looking to the headlines.