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Berkeleyan

An ounce of prevention can avert a million-dollar lawsuit
Faculty and staff supervisors are required by state law to receive training on sexual-harassment issues

26 January 2006

Staff and academic supervisors and managers, including faculty, who missed the Dec. 31, 2005, deadline for state-mandated sexual-harassment-prevention education are encouraged to satisfy the two-hour requirement as soon as possible.

According to the Campus Climate & Compliance Office (CCCO), 71 percent of the campus's 5,190 supervisors have successfully completed the training so far. "We are on a final push to meet 100-percent compliance," says Maria Lucero Padilla, CCCO's compliance-education coordinator.

Supervisors can satisfy the state requirement by taking a web-based training, "Workplace Answers," or by attending an in-person presentation that CCCO staff offer to departments. Those who received sexual-harassment-prevention training in the 2003 or 2004 calendar year are exempt from the two-hour requirement; newly hired supervisors have six months from their hire or promotion date to satisfy the requirement. Some supervisors who took the Berkeley campus's one-hour "New Media Learning Sexual Harassment Prevention Training" in the 2005 calendar year may still need additional training time to meet the state's two-hour requirement. CCCO is contacting those supervisors individually. The training will be conducted every two years.

Those required to participate include all academic administrators, such as provosts, deans, department chairs, and principal investigators. Since most faculty members supervise teaching assistants and/or research assistants, all faculty are also subject to the mandatory training requirement. Names of supervisors (including academic appointees) who have not met the requirement will be forwarded to relevant vice chancellors by mid-February.

The training is mandated by AB 1825, a new state law requiring California employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual-harassment prevention training to all employees serving in a supervisory role. The law, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2005, came about because of an increasing number of sexual-harassment cases being filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The average jury settlement for sexual-harassment complaints is $1.8 million; out-of-court settlements for these cases average $300,000.

UC's two-hour online training was developed in collaboration with the private firm Workplace Answers and launched at the end of October 2005. Accessing the training requires an individualized link and password; these are sent automatically by e-mail (although some of these messages may have been deleted accidentally by spam filters). Those who believe they missed the message may e-mail complianceeducation@berkeley.edu or call 643-9707 to request that their link be established or resent.

CCCO also provides in-person workshops with facilitated discussion on sexual and racial harassment, discrimination, and a range of department-specific and campuswide climate issues. Its Title IX officer specifically responds to and addresses sexual-harassment/gender-equity issues. For information or to schedule a workshop, contact Maria Lucero Padilla, compliance-education coordinator, at 643-9707, or see equity.chance.berkeley.edu/titleix.shtml.