California deploys system to track sexual harassment complaints

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A new system has been put into place that has been designed to make it easier for state employees in California to report sexual harassment in the workplace. Complaints filed using the system, which has been in development for almost two years, will be investigated by the agency involved and overseen by the California Department of Human Resources. Officials hope that the system will identify agencies or departments that are struggling with workplace discrimination or harassment so that corrective measures can be taken.

CalHR says that the information gathered by the reporting system will be shared with the public, but the agency makes clear that the names of the workers who submit complaints will be kept confidential. The state used to have a similar system in place, but it fell victim to budget cuts and a bureaucratic overhaul in 2012.

A recommendation to bring back a complaint tracking system was made by a working group former Gov. Jerry Brown set up to investigate a barrage of sexual harassment complaints made against senior state officials. The new system is considered superior to its predecessor because it can log complaints in real time. In addition to gathering and monitoring complaints, the system will be used to ensure that state agencies meet sexual harassment training requirements. A recent Capital Public Radio investigation revealed that almost 1,800 supervisors in numerous state agencies had not undergone the training.

Employees who are subjected to lewd or suggestive behavior or unwanted sexual advances in the workplace should make complaints using the appropriate channels. When nothing is done or their employers fail to address their concerns adequately, workers may wish to consult with experienced employment law attorneys who could seek compensation for sexual harassment victims by initiating lawsuits on their behalf.