Sexual harassment – or any type of harassment, for that matter – is never acceptable in the workplace. If you believe that a coworker is sexually harassing you, there are certain steps that you should immediately take with your employer. If the harassment does not stop immediately, it is important that you speak with a California workplace sexual harassment attorney as soon as you possibly can. A lawyer could investigate the situation, and if necessary, may be able to take legal action against the offending coworker and/or your employer on your behalf, seeking the damages that you deserve.
What is Sexual Harassment in the State of California?
Sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace directly violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, workplace sexual harassment violates the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Sexual harassment involves physical, verbal, or visual conduct – directed towards an employee – that is of a clear sexual nature. Sexual harassment also involves actions that create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work environment – and that are based upon the sex of the employee. Workplace sexual harassment in California need not involve sexual desire or intent on the part of the perpetrator. Instead, the harassment could be based upon the employee’s pregnancy status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Steps to Take if You Believe You Are the Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you believe that you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment that occurs in California, there are certain steps that you should always take. First, the majority of companies have a sexual harassment policy in place. If you feel that you have been sexually harassed while at work, you should undertake the necessary actions that are outlined in your company’s sexual harassment policy. It’s very important that you memorialize all your complaints in writing and that you identify the person or persons with whom you spoke.
In addition, you should let your employer know directly about the incident or incidents of sexual harassment that occurred. In some instances, failing to report the sexual harassment incident to your employer could prevent you from pursuing certain types of legal remedies and damages against the offending employee and/or your employer.
Finally, it may become necessary for you to file a formal complaint with the appropriate federal or state agency. Those agencies could include the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
If you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment that occurred in the workplace, prompt action is necessary to ensure that you get the help and results that you need. In some instances, when contacting your employer does not resolve the issue, it may become necessary to seek legal assistance. A knowledgeable California workplace sexual harassment attorney could assist you with investigating your sexual harassment claim, and if necessary, taking the necessary legal action against the offending employee and/or your employer.