California has launched a new system that will help track sexual harassment claims filed by state employees. This project had been under development for almost two years, and is now ready to be put into practice.
The system will log investigations that the state department’s equal employment opportunity officer is pursuing in response to discrimination and harassment complaints. CalHR, which will oversee the system, will also be tracking the outcomes of the investigations.
Support to Departments Facing Numerous Complaints
State officials are of the view that the new tracking system will help identify departments are struggling with a significant number of sexual harassment claims and face the risk of potential repeat offenders. Once identified, these departments can receive proactive support from the government.
CalHR will produce public reports related to the data obtained through this system. However, the identity of the sexual harassment victims who file their claims will be kept confidential. The new system was launched on January 1st, 2020.
Second Time in the State’s History
This is not the first time that the state has tracked this data in its history. In 2012, the state had set up a system to monitor complaints of sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. However, the officials at that time eliminated the system because of budgetary constraints.
According to observers, when the issue of sexual harassment was its peak of interest in 2017-18 during the #MeToo movement, the state did not have the ability to address questions about the experience within its own departments regarding this problem.
While there were plenty of discussions and debates about different industries where sexual harassment was prevalent, the government had no data or figures to authoritatively determine what the state was experiencing.
The Alarm was Sounded Amid #MeToo Maelstrom
Richard Gillihan, who is currently the COO at the Department of Finance, and was formerly a CalHR director, sounded the alarm in a late 2017 report in the midst of the #MeToo controversy.
Gillihan said in his report: “There is currently no method to analyze statewide discrimination complaint activity in California state government. Without data to review and analyze, it is difficult to determine what actions should be taken to proactively address specific issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace.”
This finally led to the return of the complaint tracking system, which was originally planned for a 2018 launch, but faced delays.
Logging Complaint Data in Real Time
The new system is considerably more efficient than the earlier one, and can log complaint data in real time. The new tool will also assist the state in holding agency directors responsible if they fail to comply with the mandatory sexual harassment training requirements. Dozens of state agencies and departments in recent times have failed to train supervisors in prevention of sexual harassment, which is mandated by law.
Speak to an Accomplished Sexual Harassment Attorney in California
If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment now or in the past, you need to speak up and hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions. Dedicated sexual harassment attorneys at Makarem & Associates in California can help to protect your rights in a court of law. Email Makarem & Associates at [email protected] or call310.312.0299 today.