Sandra Bledsoe

Delaware Sexual Harassment Training: What Employers Need To Know

Delaware Sexual Harassment Training uniquely educates employees in Delaware on how to be aware of and recognize sexual harassment in addition to outlining the consequences.

The most prevalent sort of workplace harassment is sexual harassment. More than half of all workers (54 percent) have encountered some sexual harassment in the workplace. Businesses must aggressively prevent and eliminate sexual harassment in their organizations due to its frequency and adverse effects on productivity, morale, and culture.

When a company learns about an experience of sexual harassment and fails to take action to safeguard the harassed employee, it is negligent. To avoid liability, organizations must normally investigate a sexual harassment allegation and take action (such as employee punishment or termination) to prevent the harassment from continuing or repeating.

Delaware State Law Harassment Training 

Like New York, Connecticut, California, and Maine, and New York City and Washington D.C., Delaware has passed legislation requiring sexual harassment prevention training for some private companies. Delaware’s sexual harassment prevention laws mandate firms with four or more workers to handle sexual harassment prevention by notice. 

In comparison, organizations with 50 or more workers must handle sexual harassment prevention via notice and interactive training. The legislation also broadens the definition of employee and the sorts of workers that are covered.

Adults working in the U.S. said their organizations said only 10 percent of 1,512 added more anti-sexual harassment training or resources since senior leaders in multiple organizations were publicly accused of sexual harassment. 

According to Delaware’s website, over one million firms are incorporated in the state of Delaware, including 50 percent of all publicly listed corporations in the United States and 60 percent of the Fortune 500. The state of Delaware passed a sexual harassment prevention bill that includes commercial obligations. 

The law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, primarily applies to firms with four or perhaps more employees and handles compulsory training, notice obligations, and employer duties. Firms with four or more staff must provide all workers with an anti-sexual harassment information sheet; employers with 50 or more workers must additionally provide interactive anti-sexual harassment training to their workers.

For more than two decades, gender discrimination in the workplace has been banned in Delaware. However, the new law – HB 360 – mainly targets sexual misconduct and defines what defines sexual harassment of an employee, whereas the previous Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) did not.

Law expands Groups covered under Workplace Sexual Harassment

HB 360 defines the definition of employee and broadens the types of workers formerly covered by the DDEA. Workers are employed by a company and increasingly include state employees, job candidates, joint employees, and interns.

 

The new legislation defines sexual harassment in the workplace as unwanted sexual approaches, demands for sexual favors, or sexually-oriented verbal or physical actions when:

  • Submission to such action is made a term or condition of employment, either openly or tacitly.
  • For employment choices impacting an employee, submission to or rejection of such behavior is utilized as the foundation of employment.
  • Such behavior is intended or has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or producing an intimidating, hostile, or unpleasant work environment.

Employer Obligations under the Law

Employers with four or more workers in the state must give the Department of Labor’s sexual harassment information sheet, which is accessible on Delaware’s official website, to new workers at the start of work and all current workers by July 1, 2019.

The notice defines sexual harassment and gives examples and directions on registering a complaint with the Department of Labor. Larger firms – those with 50 or more workers in the state – are subject to additional compliance requirements, including the provision of interactive sexual misconduct prevention training for managers and employers.

Existing workers must finish their training by December 31, 2019, and new workers must finish their training within one year of starting in their role. Supervisors must undergo training within one year of beginning their supervisory duties. Employees and managers must get training every two years.

The new rule does not establish a time limit for training. However, it does state that the following topics must be addressed and entirely presented in training sessions:

  • The concept of sexual harassment, as well as examples
  • Employees have access to legal action and a complaint mechanism.
  • Sexual harassment is against the law.
  • Instructions for contacting the Department of Labor
  • There is a legal restriction against retribution.

Supervisors’ interactive training must emphasize their specific duties and restrictions on retribution for sexual harassment.

 

Who Is Being Trained When Must They Be Trained
New Employees Within the first year of employment, and then every two years following; training is not necessary until the person has been engaged for a continuous period of six months.
Existing  Employees Within one year on January 1, 2019, and then every two years there onwards. 
New Managers/Supervisors Within one year after starting as a supervisor, and then every two years afterward.
Existing Managers/ Supervisors Within one year on January 1, 2019, and then every two years after that
Current organization employees and supervisors who had received such trainings prior to January 1, 2019, consistent with the requirements of Section (h) A fresh training required as of January 1, 2020

 

What Should Employers be Aware of?

According to the findings of a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation of workplace sexual harassment in the fiscal year 2018, sexual harassment charges in the United States increased 13.6 percent from 2017. The increase in cases in FY18 was the first significant increase in a decade, which had seen reported cases progressively decline since FY09.

Employers in Delaware can be held liable for sexual misconduct of an employee by a supervisor and another employee if the employer was aware of and should have been aware of the occurrence but failed to take proper remedial measures. 

Employers, like federal law, may be held liable if a hostile employment activity (e.g., termination) is taken against such an employee due to an incidence of sexual harassment by a superior or if any retaliation is done against an employee for bringing a discrimination accusation. 18% of people indicated their company reminded them of existing sexual harassment training or facilities.

Employers get some legal protection, an affirmative defense, for abuse by a non-supervisor if they can demonstrate that they exercised reasonable care in preventing and correcting any harassment as soon as possible and if the employee did not take advantage of any opportunity offered by the employer to prevent and remedy any instance of sexual harassment.

Delaware businesses should research the new legislation and its provisions, disseminate the information sheet, and revise their sexual harassment prevention policies to guarantee compliance with the new legislation. They should also update any training modules to remain consistent with the interactive requirements and arrange sessions to fulfill training compliance deadlines.

Training should be targeted to the unique workplace and personnel, and it should include face-to-face instruction. If it is not possible, the EEOC believes that there should still be chances for involvement. Some businesses employ a hybrid strategy. It covers in-person as well as online instruction. 

Studies show that the online component can deliver a consistent message throughout the firm and reach employees whose schedules make it impossible to attend in-person training during typical work hours.


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