Sexual harassment resorts to unwanted sexual advances and other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature and actions that create a frightening, hostile, or unpleasant work environment based on an employee’s sex.
According to a study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one out of four women and one out of five men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. An employee can experience sexual harassment by a colleague, a supervisor, a customer, or a client.
Because of social movements such as #MeToo, you can find endless stories of awful conduct, most of which amounts to sexual harassment in the workplace. People are more aware of sexual harassment in the workplace after the rise of such social movements.
do not tolerate unwanted behaviour
You do not have to tolerate if you have experienced any of the following in the workplace. You can also consult and take the help of sexual harassment lawyers in California. The lawyers will educate you on how the law defines sexual harassment so that you can react and take appropriate actions against this illegal and career-threatening conduct.
- Unwanted touches – like back rubs, pats on the butt, pinching, or accidentally brushing against your chest or any other body part.
- Unwanted sexual statement or proposal.
- Asking for sexual favours – promising benefits and employment.
- Forcing to follow the sexual request and failing to do so might reduce benefits, hours, and pay, or even hurt employment conditions.
- Leering or discussing sexual acts.
- Someone is showing or giving you sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or posters.
If you are experiencing anything mentioned above, know that you have options and support when you decide to come forward.
The Law on Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment at the workplace is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Employment and Housing Act.
Both federal and state laws recognize two types of workplace sexual harassment – “quid pro quo” harassment and “hostile work environment” harassment.
“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that means “this for that.” In Quid pro quo sexual harassment, the harasser asks for or demands sexual favour in exchange for employment benefits. For example – A manager or a supervisor states or implies that an employee must submit to conduct of a sexual nature to continue employment or get a job at a particular firm. A supervisor offers raises based on acceptance of sexual advances or going on a date with him.
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when the nature of offending behaviours creates an intimidating and threatening work environment that is severe, pervasive, and persistent and alters the conditions of your employment. HWE harassment affects the employee’s ability to fulfil job duties effectively. An employee being forced to quit due to an intolerable workplace or suffering a ‘constructive discharge’ is also a part of hostile work environment harassment. Harasser could be anybody, even a peer or a colleague.
What You Can Do
- Read your company’s sexual harassment policy and take action accordingly. Document everything and record happening incidents; note the date, time, and people involved. This will significantly help if you can point out everything expressly.
- Follow the procedures mentioned in the sexual harassment policy and report the incident. Keep a copy of your complaint and all communications of the complaint.
- Confront the harasser and make your feelings clear that their conduct is unwelcome. Tell the harasser that you do not like what they are doing and demand they stop such behaviour immediately. This will make them understand that their behaviour is unacceptable and need to stop whatever they are doing.
- Get in touch with an experienced employment lawyer who can help you file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options with what is relevant and what isn’t.
- Do not wait too long to act. You must file a complaint within one year of the last act of harassment.
Please do not suffer in silence if you have been sexually harassed at the workplace.
Under California law, employers of 5 or more employees must provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to nonsupervisory employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers once every two years.