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University of California amends its sexual harassment policy

Within the past year, the University of California system has battled several lawsuits dealing with its employees' unethical behavior. Several have been investigated, and some employees have been heavily sanctioned or terminated from the university because of sexual harassment claims. Most recently, the UC Board of Regents amended the university's Standards of Ethical Conduct after one of the regents allegedly made lewd comments toward a former employee.

The incident in question took place while the former employee was taping a bra commercial off campus. According to the article, the regent made sexual comments toward the woman and asked if he could touch her breasts. Though the incident occurred away from campus and was not part of a university event, it prompted the Board of Regents to pass amendments to its sexual harassment and ethical conduct policies.

The new amendments will allow the board more power to sanction members if their conduct violates ethical and sexual harassment guidelines. Previously, the board was limited to censuring an offending regent in writing, removing them from positions of leadership or referring them to outside authorities. Though the scope and procedures still need to be addressed, the new rules are expected to be in effect in January.

California employees facing similar workplace situations could be eligible for compensation for emotional and financial damages incurred from sexual harassment. Many seek the counsel of an employment law attorney when they feel their rights have been violated. An attorney will be able to effectively evaluate the case and give guidance on the appropriate course of action.

Source: Daily Bruin, "UC Regents revise punishment against sexual and ethical misconduct", Stephen Liu, Nov. 17, 2016

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