Do Board members need to take a Harassment Prevention Class?

Do Board members need to take a Harassment Prevention Class?
While it’s not a requirement, Harassment Awareness training is highly recommended. Board inclusion in company training, whether it’s online, via webinar or best of all, on-site, sends a clear message to all there is a true commitment to a workplace with zero tolerance for harassment.
Why Should Board Members Care About Sexual Harassment?
If there is a lesson to be learned from the recent wave of high-profile claims it is that sexual harassment allegations are bad for a company’s bottom line, reputation, and corporate culture. From expensive settlements to staff turnover to bad press, harassment claims are ugly and they aren’t going away. In this #MeToo era employers and employees are now asking more questions and paying much closer attention in harassment prevention courses. This new level of engagement certainly makes training more productive and interesting and companies are now requesting training not only for their management team but for their entire staff.
All of the discussion around this subject is positive, however, all too often board members are unaware of the responsibilities they have when it comes to responding to claims of harassment in the workplace. Public companies require boards to disclose harassment claims to shareholders in certain cases, but even private and non-profit companies risk reputational damage and lost revenue when a claim of harassment is not handled quickly and appropriately. Remember, all board members are fiduciaries of their companies, which means they are responsible for protecting the Company from claims and potential liability.
Board members, whether intimately involved in the operations of a business (not a good thing) or whether governing from a distance, need to educate themselves on how the company handles allegations and harassment claims. At a minimum, Board Members should receive:
• A copy of the organizations’ sexual harassment policy
• A copy of the organizations’ investigation procedures
• Information on how and when the board is notified of harassment claims and how claims should be discussed in board meetings (i.e. closed or executive session)
• Board responsibilities in handling harassment allegations

When should the board hire an outside investigator?

How quickly should the board respond to the complaint?

Are all board members involved or is there a subcommittee?

When should the board include legal counsel in the process?

Board members can be proactive and help a company avoid claims by setting the tone for a harassment-free workplace in two ways. First, they can ensure the current company harassment policy is up to date and relevant. Second, the board should require everyone in the organization to be trained, including board members, senior management, and staff.
Board inclusion in company training, whether it’s online, via webinar or best of all, on-site, sends a clear message to all there is a true commitment to a workplace with zero tolerance for harassment.
California Employers Association is here to help employers establish policies, procedures, and training that will reduce the likelihood of harassment in your workplace.
Kim Gusman, President & CEO of the California Employers Association

Interested educating your board? View our upcoming Board Development workshops.



Sublime Digital Marketing Group

About Ken

Ken Henderson is a seasoned entrepreneur and digital marketing professional, presently serving as the CEO of Sublime Digital Marketing Group, a respected marketing agency located in Rancho Cordova, California.


Boasting over two decades of industry experience, Ken has cultivated expertise in numerous facets of digital marketing, such as website design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), copywriting, communication, CRM systems, and advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google. As a certified Google Partner and Zoho Partner, Ken’s knowledge is both extensive and cutting-edge.


Alongside his marketing abilities, Ken has delved into automation and artificial intelligence applications, integrating them into his collaborations with businesses and non-profits. His work with a wide array of clients, including non-profits, law firms, property managers, political campaigns, private schools, and small to medium businesses, has aided them in achieving their marketing goals.


Beyond his business accomplishments, Ken is an active community leader. He sits on the board of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, contributing to the shaping of the region’s economic outlook, and is also a special advisor to MLK365, a group dedicated to making positive impact in communities. Moreover, he is a graduate of the prestigious Rancho Cordova Leadership Program and also a Certified GENEIUS, attesting to his remarkable leadership qualities.


Ken’s speaking engagements provide valuable insights into digital marketing, automation, and artificial intelligence and creative finance for businesses. His goal is to encourage others to embrace innovative marketing strategies and utilize technology for business growth.


Social Venture Partners

About Brad

Brad brings over 20 years of executive leadership in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. As a technology entrepreneur, he has helped to launch several enterprise software startups, one of which he led as Co-Founder and Vice President from 2002 through to its exit in 2016. He brings a people-centered style of leadership that leads to healthy organizational culture. He enjoys developing systems, strategy, and structure that set the foundation for organizations to scale and grow. Brad is considered a purpose-driven person and always seeks to “start with why” in everything he gets involved with. 
Beyond the enterprise technology roles he’s held, Brad was also instrumental in launching several community-based social entrepreneurship endeavors. He is the founder of the Orangevale-Fair Oaks Food Bank, Orangevale Food Bank Farm, HART of Orangevale and Fair Oaks, and the Big Day of Service. He also served as President of the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce from 2018-2022 where his impact led to a re-energized business and nonprofit membership community. Under his leadership, the Chamber secured $10M funding from SACOG for Greenback Lane streetscape improvements, 3x membership growth, 5x budget growth, formation of the Orangevale Community Council, and a more vibrant culture throughout the community. Brad currently serves on the boards of several other nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region. 
Brad currently serves as the Executive Director for Social Venture Partners of Sacramento, an organization seeking to build nonprofit connections and capacity by bringing together leaders from the business and nonprofit community. He oversees partnership growth strategy, daily operations, portfolio engagement, and major events such as the annual Fast Pitch social innovation program.
In 2018, Brad and family also launched a 10-acre u-pick flower farm called Heirloom Acres Farm. Thousands of people visit their farm all summerlong for flower u-pick events, and they also host a holiday barn market and have Christmas trees available in December. 
Brad’s superpower and life mission is about bringing people together for a purpose. He believes our community will be stronger when leaders are connected and engaged. 



About Debbie

Debbie is the founder and Executive Director of Health Education Council. Her two primary areas of expertise are cross-sector coalition building and reducing health disparities in diverse low-income communities.



About Michelle

Michelle Odell is the Director of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, where she oversees all aspects of Public Affairs including community relations, government relations; community health and community benefit planning; and internal and external communications, including media relations.

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Kristi Rolak is Sales Director in Sacramento for One Workplace, a full service commercial interior furnishings company headquartered in Santa Clara and serving greater Sacramento.