United States (Federal)

In the United States, employees have the right to be free from sexual harassment under section 703(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers may be liable for sexual harassment in the workplace, but can avoid or limit corporate liability if the employer has taken steps to prevent it – by providing training to employees, for example.

Further, § 1604.11(f) of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Regulations (29 CFR, Subtitle B, Chapter XIV, §1600-1699) states that prevention (including training/ “sensitz[ing]”) is effective against sexual harassment in the workplace:

“Prevention is the best tool for the elimination of sexual harassment. An employer should take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring, such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise and how to raise the issue of harassment under title VII, and developing methods to sensitize all concerned” [emphasis added].

Note that in some jurisdictions, state laws also apply to prohibit workplace sexual harassment and require training.