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#MeToo movement drives more mandated sexual harassment training in the workplace – Axios

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Why it matters: The #MeToo movement got off the ground roughly 2 years ago and spurred unprecedented misconduct reporting in Hollywood and in the media, as well as among ordinary people who withstood harassment in their workplaces.

Driving the news: This week, New York State passed a law requiring organizations to teach employees about harassment and simplify the process to file and track complaints.

Meanwhile, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington and Illinois passed or revamped laws over the past 2 years to expand training options.

  • Tech and media companies, including Google, as well as political offices continue to grapple with public demand to improve the process around sexual harassment.
  • Recently, individual states have passed a variety of laws limiting forced arbitration, non-disclosure agreements and other policies that could discourage employees from reporting harassment, Bloomberg notes.

Many companies already provided materials for sexual harassment training; but a 2015 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission task force found that the training largely existed to protect employers from lawsuits instead of teaching people how to spot and report bad behavior.

Background: Workplace sexual harassment was deemed illegal in a 1986 Supreme Court ruling.

  • Two court rulings in the late ’80s set precedent that a business could defend itself against some sexual harassment claims, so long as that organization had a stated and enforceable policy against the practice.

But, but, but: 3/4 of incidents still go unreported, government data estimates. And more than 1/3 of American workers said they believe their workplace fosters sexual misconduct, per a 2019 survey from Society for Human Resource Management.

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