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Why is there special training for supervisors?

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Stanford faculty and staff who supervise are important leaders, role models, and resources in the university community. Because of your role at Stanford, you have a special responsibility with respect to incidents of sexual harassment. The training gives you the necessary tools to recognize, prevent, and respond to situations where sexual harassment might be occurring, and to protect yourself from potential liability.

Employers are generally liable for harassment by their supervisors or agents. Employees, including both supervisory and nonsupervisory personnel, may be held personally liable for harassing an employee or coworker, or for aiding and abetting harassment.

Additionally, the law requires employers or their agents (such as supervisors and faculty) to take “all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring.”  As an agent of Stanford, if you know or should have known about an incident of possible sexual harassment, you have an affirmative obligation to be sure that the incident is reported appropriately.