Sexual harassment continues to be an all-too-common problem in California workplaces. In a nutshell, sexual harassment is a type of sexual discrimination. When a person engages in workplace sexual harassment, he or she violates the Fair Employment and Housing Act in California, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – a federal statute.
Sexual harassment exists in several different forms. If you believe that you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment, it is important that you have experienced legal counsel on your side. A knowledgeable California sexual harassment attorney can make the necessary complaints and take the necessary legal action to put a stop to the harassment that you have experienced in your workplace.
Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment
There are several types of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace. Those types of harassment can include the following:
- Physical, verbal, or visual conduct of a sexual nature by a coworker or employer
- Unwelcome sexual advances by a coworker or employer
- Actions by a coworker or employer that cause an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work culture based upon a particular employee’s sex
In addition, the conduct that is deemed offensive does not necessarily need to be caused by a desire for sexual intimacy. Rather, the conduct could be based upon an employee’s sexual orientation (perceived or actual), gender identity, childbirth, pregnancy status, or medical condition.
Also, in determining whether certain conduct amounts to sexual harassment in the workplace, it may be necessary to look at various factors, including the individuals’ gender and the specific actions that are undertaken. If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney will be able to help you take the necessary legal actions on your behalf.
Steps to Take if You are the Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, there are several legal steps that you might be able to take. Many companies and other workplaces have sexual harassment policies in place that can be found in their employee handbooks. You should first make sure that you follow the steps outlined in the employee handbook, that you make all complaints in writing (as opposed to just verbal), and that you keep good records of all actions that you undertake, including all times and dates.
In addition, you should be sure to inform your employer that you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment. The policy will state whom you should contact with regard to a sexual harassment complaint – like the head of human resources, for example. In some instances, by failing to report the complaint to your employer in writing, you might be waiving your right to pursue remedies against your employer.
You might also be able to file a complaint with a state or federal agency, such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the federal level. An experienced workplace sexual harassment lawyer in California can help you take the necessary legal actions to address your harassment issues.