In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Pennsylvania could soon join the growing number of states to propose laws requiring sexual harassment prevention training for restaurant employees.
Illinois is the most recent state to propose mandatory sexual harassment training for all restaurant employees (Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act House Bill 3351). The states of New York, California, Maine, Delaware and Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia and New York City, have already enacted sexual harassment prevention laws with specific mandatory training requirements. If this trend continues, additional states including Pennsylvania, will likely follow suit, and begin requiring restaurant employees to complete a sexual harassment prevention program covering a base minimum of topics, such as:
- The definition of sexual harassment
- How to recognize inappropriate conduct
- When and how to report sexual harassment
- Review of the harmful impact of sexual harassment on victims and businesses
- How to investigate sexual harassment claims
- How to create a harassment-free work culture
- Review of employer and manager liability for reporting and addressing sexual harassment
On January 15, 2019 a similar bill was introduced in New Jersey (A 4831). If passed it will require all restaurants with 15 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to employees.
It appears that a wave has begun and the only question that remains for restaurateurs is: Are you equipped to hold a sensitivity training program on maintaining a respectful workplace in order to address the mandatory training requirement that will likely become a reality?