Certain behaviors, such as conditioning promotions, awards, training or other job benefits upon acceptance of unwelcome actions of a sexual nature, are always wrong. That's sexual harassment and it is against the law.
If you think you may be a victim of sexual harassment then it is important to understand the basic definitions of sexual harassment. California and Federal law generally defines sexual harassment as unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
It is defined in two distinct categories — Quid Pro Quo Harassment or Hostile Work Environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
“Quid pro quo” (this for that) harassment occurs when a supervisor offers to provide certain employee benefits in exchange for sexual favors. Or conversely, withholds specific benefits for refusal of sexual advances. Examples of benefits could include a raise or promotion and sometimes, continued employment itself.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile Work Environment harassment occurs when an employee's work environment becomes abusive, intimidating, or hostile as a result of severe or pervasive sexual misconduct by a co-worker(s). In this case, a manager, supervisor, co-worker, peer, or even a non-employee such as a customer can create the hostile environment.
Keep in mind that harassment can come in a variety of forms. It can be verbal, visual/non-verbal or physical.
Spoken innuendo or suggestive comments; jokes or teasing; repeated date requests; sexual advances or propositions; or general comments about body or dress that are of a sexual nature.
Visual or Non Verbal
Staring; whistling; vulgar sounds or gestures; offensive visuals; obscene email, letters, and other written materials; or gifts of a sexual nature.
Inappropriate touching such as brushing, pinching, or hugging; display of body parts; coerced acts; blocking movement; or assault of a sexual nature.
If you are experiencing Sexual Harassment in your workplace here are some initial steps to take:
- Document the situations including the date, time, those in attendance, and details of what occurred
- Consult an attorney for advice
- Refer to your employee manual to determine your company policy on reporting the sexual harassment within your company
- File a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
At Kingsley and Kingsley, we understand that you may be going through a difficult time, and we are here to help you recover from the wrongs that you suffered. An attorney at our firm can meet with you for a free initial consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case. We also take most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay any fees unless you win or recover compensation. Please feel free to call Eric Kingsley toll-free at 888-500-8469. Our local number is 818-990-8300 (Los Angeles Co.); additional contact information can be found here.
Our California-based attorneys know the importance of swift justice, and we are here to answer your questions and help you recover as quickly as possible.
Sexual Harassment definition on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia