State of the States: Delaware Passes Sexual Harassment Law

September 14, 2018

Delaware Governor John Carney (D) signed legislation that expands the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace and prohibits retaliation by an employer.

The law expands the type of covered persons in Delaware to include state workers, unpaid interns, applicants, joint employees, and apprentices.

Employers with 50 or more employees are further required to provide interactive sexual harassment training within one year of the commencement of their employment for new employees or by January 1, 2020 for existing employees.

The statute makes an employer liable for acts of sexual harassment when:

  • The employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take corrective measures;
  • The harassment perpetrated by a supervisor results in a “negative employment action” against an employee; or
  • “[A] negative employment action [is] taken against an employee in retaliation” for filing a discrimination charge, participating in an investigation, or testifying in any proceeding about sexual harassment.

Bottom line:  The Workplace Policy Institute reports, “Depending on how [the term ‘negative employment action’] is interpreted by agencies and courts, this definition could theoretically cover a wide range of employer decisions, perhaps wider than currently encompassed by the federal framework.”

Read the full Workplace Policy Institute State of the States report.