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University of California establishes new sexual harassment rules

The University of California announced new guidelines that will apply to sexual harassment allegations on campus. The new guidelines came in response to an incident in October 2016, where a regent of the university asked a female employee for permission to touch her breasts.

The regent accused of the sexually harassing behavior sat in on the board that voted on the new sexual harassment standards, and he actually voted in favor of the measure. The standards were unanimously approved late last month during a UC Board of Regents gathering in San Francisco. When the regent spoke about an unrelated matter during the meeting, a heckler in the public gallery shouted out and called him a "pervert."

The policy requires all of the regents to attend a training program about sexual harassment prevention. All employees at the universities 10 campus locations will also have to take the same training. When regents violate the sexual harassment and/or ethical conduct codes of the university, they will face sanctions -- regardless if the violations occur in the regents' public or private lives. At this time, it is unclear whether the regent in question will be hit with disciplinary measures for his alleged behavior.

No California resident ever has to endure the abuse of being sexually harassed on the job, nor do they have to endure the fear of retribution if they speak up about the abuse. Indeed, this kind of behavior against an employee is not only inexcusable, it is also unlawful. California residents who have been sexually harassed on the job will have the ability to seek financial restitution for the damages caused by the behavior in court.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "UC sets new sexual harassment rules for its governing body," Jocelyn Gecker, Nov. 17, 2016

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