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Harassment allegations lead to new training

Florida businesses are tasked with providing safe work environments for their employees. This safety goes beyond protecting people against physical injuries from falls or other dangers and includes ensuring people feel comfortable and are not harassed by or discriminated against by their colleagues, supervisors or others.

Laws governing sexual harassment in the workplace extend beyond the private sector to the public sector as well. This includes public school districts. However, as one school district recently learned, there is a need to make sure that all policies clearly identify processes and expectations for non-staff members in addition to paid employees. A board member with the Brevard public school district was accused of making inappropriate advances to an employee of the district.

After an investigation, the board member was not officially charged with any sexual harassment offenses and was actually cleared of all of the allegations against him. The school district has, however, indicated that it had no official policies on how to handle such allegations against a non-employee. As such it will now be reviewing its policies to include board members and provide updated training to all of the parties involved. 

Whether in the public or the private sector, entities that must provide sexual harassment policies and training may want to talk with an attorney to get guidance on how to ensure their processes and policies are complete and able to address the various situations that may arise. 

Source: Florida Today, "Brevard schools beefing up sexual harassment training after Ziegler case," Caroline Glenn, September 30, 2017

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