Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
There are serious consequences in sexual harassment cases for both employers and employees. Employers face lawsuits and demoralized workers. Employees face isolation, retaliation and the fear of losing their jobs.
Nobody should have to tolerate sexual harassment at work. But unfortunately, workplace sexual harassment is a problem that many people are forced to deal with.
The law protects workers who experience sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Victims deserve to learn about their legal rights and options. Let’s take a look at examples of sexual harassment at work.
Two Types Of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment usually occurs in one of two guises. The first is the “classic” yet infrequent “quid pro quo” scenario, which involves a proposed exchange. Examples include:
- Sexual favors in exchange for a raise or promotion
- Sexual favors in exchange for not being terminated
The second involves an atmosphere of harassment, intimidation and/or discrimination. Examples include:
- Unwanted jokes, gestures and comments
- Unwanted touching
- Repeated unwanted requests for dates
- Transmitting, displaying or posting sexual emails or pictures
- The playing of sexually suggestive music
There are many other examples of sexual harassment. It is important to remember that both forms of sexual harassment are illegal. Victims should not hesitate to speak to an attorney to learn about their legal rights and options going forward.
Definition Of Sexual Harassment
Q. What is sexual harassment?.
A. Sexual harassment can be requests for sexual favors from a supervisor that are tied to pay, promotion or other job situations. It can also be verbal or physical abuse. Sexual harassment can also come from co-workers or even be part of a hostile work environment. It can come from and be directed toward either men or women. It is viewed as a form of gender-based discrimination and is against state and federal law.
Sexual Harassment Equals Discrimination
Q. Why is sexual harassment seen as discrimination?.
A. Because sexual harassment singles out a victim based on gender, it violates state and federal law. Gender is a protected category under civil rights law in both California and the United States.
Options For Employees
Q. What recourse do I have if I’ve been sexually harassed?.
A. Much of sexual harassment is about power. Victimizers make victims feel powerless. However, victims have rights and can fight back against violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that governs sexual harassment. A knowledgeable employment law attorney can advise you.
Q. Are there specific steps to take to fight sexual harassment?.
A. One of the best things you can do is to keep a diary or log of the incidents. Record names and dates, describe the incident and note the names of any possible witnesses. Your lawyer can tell you what other types of evidence might be helpful to your case.
Q. How do I keep on going when I’m being sexually harassed?.
A. Being a victim of this type of harassment is emotionally draining; filing a claim can be even more difficult. Resources are available to help you cope with the harassment and fight back. Your lawyer can advise you.
Q. Where can I learn more about this form of harassment?.
A. Numerous state and federal websites cover employment issues in general and sexual harassment in particular. These include:
- Facts About Sexual Harassment from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Academic from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
- Stopping Sexual Harassment: An AFSCME Guide
- Sexual Harassment: The Employer’s Role in Prevention
Sexual harassment is not funny and may seem like harmless banter to some. However, it deprives its victims of dignity and equality and is illegal. You can fight back against harassment; the law is on your side.
How We Can Help
Bononi Law Group, LLP, has handled sexual harassment cases for more than two decades. We are in court weekly defending clients’ rights.
We have multiple lawyers included on the California Super Lawyers list and an attorney who has been selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America each year for more than 20 years.
We represent both employers and employees in sexual harassment cases, and our legal representation has yielded positive results in countless cases. In a recent case involving multiple counts of sexual harassment, we settled for amounts exceeding $400,000..