Workplace sexual harassment is illegal, but it still regularly occurs in offices across California and the rest of the country. In fact, it even happens at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Justice Department deals with sexual harassment complaints
In July 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a review of the Justice Department’s sexual harassment policies in response to a series of sexual harassment and misconduct complaints filed by employees in recent years.
According to media reports, some of the complaints — which were investigated and substantiated by the Office of the Inspector General — involved senior officials in the department. In one case, a federal prosecutor was accused of harassing women from several different agencies. In another, a senior official was accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague and harassing other women he worked with.
Monaco said she ordered the review to comply with President Joe Biden’s March 2021 executive order to advance gender equity and equality across federal agencies. However, the DOJ’s Gender Equality Network had been pushing the department to strengthen its sexual harassment policies for years, and the group’s president was given a place on the review’s steering committee.
The agency last updated its sexual harassment policies in 2018. At the time, some critics said the changes didn’t do enough to protect employees.
Workplace sexual harassment policies
Sexual harassment can take many forms, including inappropriate comments, unwanted sexual advances and suggestive touching. All companies, whether large or small, must implement policies that protect employees from such behaviors and create a safe working environment. These policies must also be regularly reviewed to ensure they are keeping up with current trends.