Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem in California and throughout the country. You have a right to be protected from sexual harassment at your workplace, but you may not realize how many different types of behaviors constitute sexual harassment.
You might think of sexual harassment as a boss requesting sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, overtly sexual comments being made to you or being touched inappropriately.
While these are legitimate forms of sexual harassment, there are many other things that are considered sexual harassment.
The behavior doesn’t need to be addressed at you
Comments about a certain group of people such as women or people of a specific sexual orientation could be sexual harassment. Someone who makes sexually explicit remarks or jokes can potentially be engaging in sexual harassment.
Anyone can perpetrate sexual harassment. It does not have to be your boss or someone above you. It can be anyone you have a working relationship with.
How do you know it’s sexual harassment?
The bottom line is that you should feel safe and comfortable in your workplace. If someone’s actions or behavior make you feel uncomfortable, you might be experiencing sexual harassment.
You have a legal right to a workplace free of sexual harassment. You can file a sexual harassment claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
Document the harassment in detail
Since you may not want to take that step unless you must, you could try talking with your direct manager or human resources department about the problem first.
No matter which option you choose, document everything you can about the situation. Write down details such as dates, times and the exact words or actions of the perpetrator. This increases your chance of having appropriate action taken.
You should not have to put up with sexual harassment in your workplace. Talking to an employment attorney about the situation can help you decide on your best options.