Carson City Chamber educates on sexual harassment | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City Chamber educates on sexual harassment

Kelsie Longerbeam
klongerbeam@nevadaappeal.com
Diana Albiniano, director of HR operations at Solutions at Work, presented about sexual harassment at the Chambers monthly Soups On luncheon.
Kelsie Longerbeam / Nevada Appeal

The Carson City Chamber of Commerce invited Diana Albiniano and Nicole Andazola of Solutions at Work to present at the Soups On luncheon Thursday to talk about a recent spotlight topic: sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to a Washington Post-ABC news poll, 70 percent of women and 20 percent of men experience sexual harassment in the workplace. The state of Nevada doesn’t require harassment trainings. With the recent #MeToo movement, many men and women have come forth with their experiences, and are taking a stand against harassment.

Sexual harassment claims have taken down icons from the entertainment to political world and between, with many declaring they were unaware their actions could be considered sexual harassment.

“I was sending notes back and forth with my staff during the presentation to double check my policies. It’s always important to be informed,” said Lisa Lee, executive director of Advocates to End Domestic Violence, an attendee of the luncheon. “I think it’s one of those things you don’t realize you need it until you have (a sexual harassment issue). I have a small agency, but it’s really good to review the policies and make sure that everybody is on board and knows it. Sometimes people tell some blue jokes you know? I know (my employees) joke around.”

Harassment creates an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment that can hinder success for everyone.

Alibiano, presenter and Solutions at Work director of human resources, described sexual harassment as any conduct that’s unwelcome by a reasonable person, is harmful, and creates a negative work environment. “I thought the presentation shed light on a very important topic, because you can’t emphasize this enough. My experience with this subject in general is that unfortunately, much of what Nevada has done is window dressing … I’ve been required to watch a video about this at every place I’ve worked at, and these videos are nonsense and just window dressing on the issue. And it’s a very important issue because if you bring everyone into a room in the office, it’s an uncomfortable topic for most people. But it’s an important discussion that should be discussed,” said another chamber member in attendance, Spectrum account executive Robert Glenn, on the presentation.

If sexual harassment is reported in the workplace and isn’t addressed accurately, the entire company could face legal repercussions. In the case of Baker & McKenzie vs Weeks (1998), Weeks was awarded $3.5 million after her report of sexual harassment was dismissed by her company.

Alibiano advises all companies have a sexual harassment policy, a company statement regarding it, and mandatory training for all employees. Also, all sexual harassment policies should include a confidentiality agreement to protect the reputation of employees, and address the possibilities of retaliation.

Do you know what constitutes as sexual harassment? Do your employees? To learn more, speak with your human resources department or visit http://www.mysolutionsatwork.com.