Sexual harassment cases abound in 2011

Update 10/5/11: Time is running out to schedule your California AB1825 training!
Update 4/7/11: Three things you need to know about California AB1825 training

A lot of (allegedly) bad behavior is catching up to several prominent figures during the first week of 2011. Former New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre has been named in a lawsuit, ESPN announcer Ron Franklin was fired, and Naval Captain Owen Honors was relieved of duty, all for allegedly engaging in harassing behavior at work. These incidents should serve as a reminder to all companies about the importance of taking proactive steps to prevent workplace harassment. Failure to do so could lead to lost productivity, expensive litigation, and bad PR. Really, really bad PR.

When there's smoke, there's fire
The lawsuit filed against Brett Favre and the New York Jets is just one of several sexual harassment issues the New York Jets have faced in the past few months. Favre is fresh off a $50,000 fine from the NFL for not cooperating with an investigation into a separate sexual harassment complaint filed by New York Jets game day reporter Jenn Sterger.  The Jets organization also made headlines in September 2010 after reporter Ines Sainz was reportedly subjected to inappropriate comments and behavior from Jets players and coaches.The lawsuit filed this week alleges that two message therapists were not offered continued work by the Jets organization after they refused sexual advances made by Favre via text message.


Organizations should never assume a sexual harassment complaint is an isolated incident.

Cultural Issues
You have to wonder about the company culture when an organization repeatedly deals with sexual harassment issues. ESPN announcer Ron Franklin was fired this week after allegedly making sexist comments to a female colleague. Unfortunately, this wasn't even close to the first time ESPN has dealt with an on camera personality accused of inappropriate behavior. Harold Reynolds, Eric Kuselias, and many others were already on the list. Are all of these folks lewd, sexist pigs? The problem is the general public doesn't have the facts, but they do have the sensational story. We have to form our opinion based on what we have.

Embarrasing Evidence

An inappropriate video filmed in 2007 caught up to Naval Captain Owen Honors when he was relieved of duty as commander of the USS Enterprise this week.  This type of technology is clearly creating problems with workplace behavior. It's too easy to click "Send", "Share", or "Record" when faced with something that is both inappropriate and amusing (at least to some). While private behavior may be lost with time and fading memories, recorded behavior lives on.

Schedule your 2011 harassment prevention training
California employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years. For many companies, 2011 is a 'recertification year', meaning that it's time to conduct the training once again. Fortunately, Toister Performance Solutions offers a workshop that is fun, educational, and easy to schedule.

Learn more about our sexual harassment prevention class.