Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
No one deserves to be groped, insulted, come onto inappropriately, or otherwise sexually harassed at work. California and federal law makes sexual harassment in the workplace strictly illegal for this reason. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment and your company has not appropriately addressed the issue, you can find justice outside the office.
What Is Considered Sexual Harassment In California?
There are two main types of sexual harassment specified under California law: quid pro quo and hostile workplace environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when a supervisor conditions continued employment, promotions, raises, or other employee benefits on acceptance of sexual advances or other harassing behavior. Even inappropriate jokes of this sort can be considered harassment.
Hostile workplace environment sexual harassment tends to occur less blatantly, but is just as illegal. An employer has a hostile workplace environment if severe or pervasive instances of sexual harassment occur. It’s important to note that there is an “or” in the definition, not an “and,” which means a company can create a hostile workplace environment by ignoring even a single incident of sexual harassment.
Preventing Sexual Harassment Is The Employer’s Responsibility
Under California labor law, it’s your employer’s responsibility to prevent sexual harassment, not yours. In fact, under California law, any time a supervisor harasses an employee, the company is strictly liable, regardless of how the issue is addressed. Even when co-workers harass an employee, employers can be held liable if they know of the harassment and don’t take appropriate corrective action. When you report harassing behavior, your employer has a responsibility to take immediate action, and it is illegal for employers to retaliate or hurt your career for making such a report.
What To Do If You’ve Experienced Sexual Harassment At Work
Sadly, sexual harassment remains a problem in California workplaces despite the many protections against it. Luckily, the law provides victims with the ability to recover damages for the stresses and suffering associated with sexual harassment at work. If you’ve experienced workplace sexual harassment, you must consult with a California employment attorney right away. Filings for sexual harassment claims have strict deadlines (with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filings, just 180 days from the incident), so the sooner you speak with an employment lawyer, the more likely your case will succeed. At Wakeford Gelini, we are always available to hear your case and look for a way we can help.