Sexual harassment, in numerous forms, is illegal in the state of California.
Harassment that is sexual in nature can occur when sexual favors are demanded by a supervisor from a subordinate in exchange for benefits or conversely, threats of negative consequences for non-compliance.
The activity doesn't have to be quid pro quo to be considered sexual harassment.
Any conduct of a sexual nature that is unwanted and which is so pervasive and severe that it creates a hostile work atmosphere can also be illegal sexual harassment.
Further, customers and coworkers can create a hostile environment through inappropriate touching, obscene gestures or speech, graffiti and more, not just a supervisor or superior. This type of harassment can be perpetrated by both males upon females as well as females upon males and same-sex members as well.
What Workplace Sexual Harassment Victims Need To Know
It is important for you to know that you must make it clear that the behavior is unwelcome. In other words, tell the offender to stop.
If it continues, you should tell your supervisor or human resources department. It is helpful to do so in writing. Documenting any incidents of sexual harassment and any instances that you tell the offender to stop, report it to H.R., etc. can be useful in proving your case.
You may be tempted to ignore the harassment, hoping it will not continue, but this frequently only makes the situation worse. And, staying quiet about it can potentially impact your legal rights here in California as well as in other states. Be clear to the offender that you are asking them to stop.
Fortunately, many California companies have put in place policies and procedures to protect and educate their employees. Ideally, once you have told the offender to stop and let your supervisor or human resources department know about the unwanted behavior, your company will take the appropriate steps to stop the behavior. But what if this does not happen? You may feel a range of emotions, and not know what to do next. The good news is that you do not have to know. We do. And, we will help.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is not limited to just being asked to perform a sexual act in exchange for a better position. It can be anything from physical unwanted touching, such as..
- Back rubs
- Brushing up against a person
- Rubbing oneself sexually around another person
- Sexual remarks and innuendos
- Suggestive stories
- Catcalling and whistling
- Inappropriate nicknames
- and many more
If you are unsure if the behavior you are experiencing is sexual harassment, it is best to consult with an employment lawyer in Los Angeles who can guide you through the process.
The labor and employment law attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley are well-versed in representing employees throughout California who have been the victim of sexual harassment. Our lawyers represent employees in civil litigation in state and federal courts, and in mediations and administrative hearings before boards and commissions such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
There are time restraints when reporting your employer's violation. Different states have different sexual harassment time restraints in place, and it is very important to review the sexual harassment laws that govern your specific state.