Sexual Harassment: Federal and California Law

Sexual Harassment: Federal and California Law 

The purpose of this course is to familiarize the learner in with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to recognize, prevent, and investigate sexual harassment complaints in the workplace. Sexual harassment in the workplace is more common than most people think. Studies suggest more than one-third of employees, both men and women, have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Information will be presented on the prevention and correction of sexual harassment complaints, the responsibility of the employer not to discriminate or retaliate against a complainant, and the remedies available to victims of harassment in employment.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (5 Match)

California Department of Public Health (CNA)


Relias, LLC is an approved provider of continuing education by the California Department of Public Health, Provider # NAC7001.

The certificate must be retained by the licensee for a period of four (4) years after the course is completed.

This learning activity meets the definition of *** ONLINE *** CEUs. This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

California Department of Social Services Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly


Relias, LLC is approved by the California Department of Social Services as a Continuing Education Training Program Vendor to provide Continuing Education training courses to administrators of residential care facilities for the elderly.

Vendor/Provider # 2000224-740-2;
Approval # 224-0240-32687.

This activity is approved by the California Department of Social Services for 2.00 contact hours.

California Department of Social Services Group Homes


Relias, LLC is approved by the California Department of Social Services as a Continuing Education Program Vendor to provide Continuing Education training courses to administrators of Group Homes.

Vendor/Provider # : 2000224-730-2
Approval # 224-0240-32571

This activity is approved by the California Department of Social Services for 2.00 contact hours.

California Department of Social Services Adult Residential Facilities


Relias, LLC is approved by the California Department of Social Services as a Continuing Education Program Vendor to provide Continuing Education training courses to administrators of Adult Residential Facilities.

Vendor/Provider # : 2000224-735-2
Approval # 224-0240-32624

This activity is approved by the California Department of Social Services for 2.00 contact hours.

California Nursing Home Administrator Program - non-P type


This educational offering is approved by the California Nursing Home Administrator Program (NHAP) for full credit as a course relating directly to duties, functions, or responsibilities of the nursing home administrator. Provider # CEP 1701; Course Approval # 1701002-7310. This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PAC-0-SHFCL
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 12/31/2023
Learning Objectives:
State the definition of sexual harassment and the related laws.
Identify two forms of sexual harassment.
Describe ways to prevent harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.
Recognize behaviors and language associated with sexual harassment.
Identify the potential impact of sexual harassment on the person, other employees, and the company.
Indicate remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
Examine the steps one should take in investigating a complaint of sexual harassment.

I. Define sexual harassment and related laws a. Introduction i. Course objectives ii. Teaching process b. The governance of sexual harassment i. Federal law: Civil Rights Act of 1964/Title VII 1. Prohibits discrimination — including sexual harassment ii. US Code of Federal regulation 1. Federal definition of sexual harassment 2. Explanation of law iii. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) 1. Expands protections iv. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 1. Enforces federal sexual harassment laws v. Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) 1. California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DEFH) a. Largest Civil Rights office in the U.S. b. Protects all residents c. What constitutes sexual harassment? i. Behaviors, conduct. and language 1. Right to work a. free from discrimination/hostile work environment 2. Behaviors/conduct that are sexual in nature 3. Hostile verbal/physical conduct targeting gender 4. Language/comments 5. Threats or reprisals for declining sexual advances 6. Not mutual and unwelcome 7. Abuse of power ii. EEOC Select Taskforce Study (2015) 1. Persistent, underreported, can happen to anyone 2. Harm may be caused by employee or non-employees 3. Witnessing may cause harm 4. Can occur without economic injury or discharge iii. Learning Engagement Activity — Sexual Harassment Skit 1. Inappropriate hand shake with employee by supervisor 2. Unconsented cell phone photographing by one employee of another employee iv. Supervisors and employees 1. Definitions 2. Who may perpetrate sexual harassment? 3. Is this sexual harassment? 4. Illustrations and case studies a. Language that is sexual in nature i. Case Study: Supervisor — Don a supervisor in an Assisted Living community comments on female employee’s appearance, smell of hair, and perfume. ii. Case Study: Employee — Kim tells offensive jokes to co-workers and criticizes employees who don’t like the jokes. iii. Learning Engagement Activity — Multiple-Choice Question v. Understanding employer responsibility in other situations 1. Workplace property a. Case Study: Tony’s has nude pictures in his work locker where his co-workers can see them. 2. Offsite activities a. Case Study: Raymond is harassed at a company party off-site by his co-workers. b. Learning Engagement Activity — Multiple-Choice Question 3. Visitors and vendors a. Case Study: Gayle’s harassed by contractor/vendor; phone calls, unwanted gifts, unwanted advancements. vi. Identify two types of sexual harassment 1. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment a. Tangible employment action i. Positive or negative ii. Threat of action b. Illegal, grounds for lawsuit c. Employers liable for supervisors d. Case Study: Supervisor leveraging professional advancement in exchange for sexual favors. e. Learning Engagement Activity — True/False Question 2. Hostile work environment a. Pervasive pattern or harassment that is severe b. Case study: Tim and Carmen workplace stalking. Carmen rejects Tim’s advances. Tim uses combination of corporate owned property and Carmen’s personal property and activity to pursue. c. What to do if it happens to you? d. Learning Engagement Activity Hour Two II. Employer responsibilities for protection from sexual harassment a. Protections are rights b. All employers are covered by harassment provisions in California law. i. Exempt from protections ii. Independent contractors iii. Job applicants iv. Unpaid interns 1. Case Review: Lihuan Wang vs Phoenix Satellite Television 2013. Unpaid Intern lured under false pretenses into supervisor’s hotel room. 2. Revisions to law 3. California law changes v. Women and sexual harassment 1. Risk factors vi. Learning Engagement Activities 1. LuWang Case question 2. True/False & multiple-choice questions c. Why prevent sexual harassment? i. Legal and practical reasons ii. How to prevent unwelcome behavior d. Employer liability i. Obligation to prevent and intervene ii. Personal liability/supervisors iii. Third party liability 1. Learning Engagement Activities a. Third party liability case study: Employee offended by co-workers interactions and verbal exchange that were not directed at the third party. The third party had not been invited into the conversation. b. True/false, multiple-choice questions e. The consequences of sexual harassment i. Legal, financial, other 1. Effects on victim, accused, and company ii. Prevention of consequences 1. Prevent harassment, correct behavior 2. Report, investigate, resolve complaints 3. Learning Engagement Activity: multiple-choice question f. Sexual harassment compliance i. Formal, written policy compliant with state/federal laws 1. Includes non-retaliation 2. Outlines complaint process 3. Explains investigatory process 4. Describes how findings are presented ii. Posting, brochures — DEFH iii. Supervisory training 1. Employers of more than 50 employees (California) 2. Within six months of hire or promotion g. Learning Engagement Activities: Five Case Studies 1. Employee approaches co-worker intimating specific location and types of physical contact. 2. Employee demoted for refusing to engage in sexual activity with supervisor. 3. Employee traveling with supervisor is lured into supervisor’s hotel room on false pretenses. Employee refuses advances. 4. Inappropriate teasing and slanderous comments toward gender minority co-worker by gender dominant workforce. 5. Failed personal relationships of two employees that affect the work place. ii. Is this harassment, who is liable, what should be done? h. Representing your company i. Open door policy, invite reporting, intervene early ii. Learning Engagement Activity: Case study yes/no answers i. Sexual harassment reminders i. When you (employee) encounter uncomfortable/unwelcome behavior ii. When you are responsible (supervisory) j. Handling complaints i. Receiving the complaint 1. Active listen, take seriously 2. Don’t ask complainant to confront harasser 3. Protect from retaliation 4. Complaints may be verbal or written 5. Document complaints ii. Consider the investigation 1. Who will investigate — impartial, qualified person 2. Seriousness of allegation 3. Establish preliminary timeline 4. Common mistakes in conducting investigations 5. When not to handle the investigation k. Conducting a sexual harassment investigation i. Claimant 1. Respect privacy, collect information, use quotes — verbatim 2. Conducting interviews — questions a. EEOC resource/questions b. Evaluate response 3. Determine if there are witnesses 4. Inquire about additional evidence 5. Don’t promise, remain objective 6. Discuss timeline, updates, provide brochure/policy 7. Thank the person for coming forward 8. Learning Engagement Activity — True/false question ii. Set up investigation file 1. Not kept in the personnel file 2. What belongs in the file iii. Meeting with the accused 1. Open, tact, serious, nonjudgmental 2. Describe behaviors/allegations one at a time 3. Chance to respond 4. If permissible, provide copy of the complaint 5. Reinforce workplace standards, explain company policies 6. No rights to confront complainant, be present at interview 7. Provide timelines, keep person informed, thank person for cooperating 8. Learning engagement activity: True/false question iv. Interviewing witnesses 1. Direct knowledge 2. Relevant information 3. What they have been told 4. Response 5. Provide brochure, policy, request discretion/privacy 6. Learning engagement activity: True/false question l. Evaluating the evidence i. Supports/discredits claim ii. Credibility factors 1. Inherent plausibility 2. Motive to lie 3. Corroboration 4. Quality of communication 5. Integrity 6. Consistency 7. Learning engagement activity: True/false question iii. Burden of proof 1. Preponderance of evidence standard a. More likely than not b. Over 50% iv. Reaching conclusions 1. factual ver

Instructor: Cynthia McDaniel, MSN, RN
Cynthia McDaniel MSN RN, is a nurse and administrative consultant in long term care. She is the CEO of ElderWise Inc, a senior living consulting and education group. Cynthia has worked as a nurse consultant for the States of Oregon and Washington,  a geriatric care manager, a regional director of clinical operations for a senior living company, and an assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Her research in assisted living focused on the characteristics of residents in assisted living communities and the role of the nurse in assisted living. Cynthia holds a Master's of Science in Nursing from Gonzaga University in nursing education. She is a Fellow of the Sigma Theta Tau/John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy.  Disclosure: Cynthia McDaniel, MSN, RN has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Catherine Zimmerman, LICSW, ACHP-SW, CSW-G
Catherine Zimmerman is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has a private practice providing counseling services to people of all ages and all stages of their lives. She is a freelance healthcare writer and speaker specializing in mental health, ethics, hospice and palliative care, gerontological topics, substance misuse, caregiving, stress and trauma.  Zimmerman received her master's degree from Portland State University thirty years ago and is certified in clinical social work-Gerontology. Zimmerman supervises and mentors therapists seeking licensure in Oregon or Washington states. She is the current President of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and has provided public presentations on over twenty topics and has numerous published works. Disclosure: Catherine Zimmerman, LICSW, ACHP-SW, CSW-G has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.