Sexual harassment does not have to involve the act of sex. In fact, it can involve the harasser being hostile toward the victim or using abuse of power over the victim because of the victim’s gender. Sexual harassment is illegal and although it is a crime, it unfortunately still happens. It can happen at work, school, or even on the street. In this article, we will discuss sexual harassment in the workplace and how to handle it.
If you believe you have or are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, then it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney, such as the team at Point Law Group. Our highly experienced and knowledgeable team is here to help every step of the way. Contact us at 310-560-0606 for a free consultation with an employment lawyer Los Angeles CA!
How to Handle Sexual Harassment at the Workplace?
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can happen to anyone and the harasser can be anyone. In most cases, though, the harasser is a man and the victim is a woman. However, men can be victims of sexual harassment as well. Sexual harassment can occur between people of the same sex, as well as victims who are gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Any type of uninvited sexual advance or behavior in the workplace that causes a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment can be classified as sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue. Not only is it illegal, but it can also negatively affect the health and well-being of your employees. This can result in a negative company morale, which can lead to a plethora of issues, such as resulting in making employees less productive and a higher turnover rate.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
There are two categories of workplace sexual harassment, which are:
- Hostile work environment:
Hostile work environment sexual harassment can occur in two different ways. (1) Another employee, manager, or employer that works with you makes an unwelcome sexual advance or degrading jokes, unwelcome and repetitive requests for dates, offensive touching or gestures, intimidating conduct, or pornographic materials. This type of conduct is directed at you because of your gender and the offenses must be serious and/or pervasive. This type of behavior results in affecting your performance as an employee. Sexual harassment in the workplace can also happen with customers and vendors. (2) Another way that hostile work environment sexual harassment can occur is when an employer or manager arranges less favorable work conditions for you in comparison to a different sex co-worker because of your gender. This can involve a variety of discriminatory hiring conditions, such as hours, wages, work schedules, work assignments, promotions, sick leave or vacation benefits, discipline, termination, and job evaluation.
- Quid pro quo:
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a manager, supervisor, or employer demands or asks sexual behavior from you in return for promotions or benefits surrounding your employment.
It can be considered sexual harassment even if you did not say “no.” Victims may feel pressured to participate in sexual behavior because you may be afraid to lose your job, afraid of punishment, or embarassed.
How to Handle Sexual Harassment at the Workplace?
If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, here are some important steps to take.
- Tell the harasser to stop. While some victims may not feel comfortable or safe doing this, it is important that you try your best to make yourself clear to the harasser that their behavior or advances are unwelcome.
- Next, be sure to report the sexual harassment to management and/or authority that is involved in the decision making and ask that they make an effort to stop such behavior. Many employers may have sexual harassment procedures in place and if this is the case, be sure to follow them. Another important step is to make a complaint in writing and if it is possible, have a trusted witness there when you make the complaint. Be sure that you have some level of proof that your employer received the complaint, as well as the time and date in which it was filed. For example, ask your employer to confirm that he or she received your complaint in writing. Another thing to remember is that you should keep a copy of your complaint.
- Be sure to cooperate with your employer’s investigation of the complaint.
In general, before an employer can be held responsible under such laws, the employer must have been given notice of the sexual harassment and must have the chance to handle the problem.
You can also report the sexual harassment to EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) if you plan to take legal action under the federal civil rights law.
In addition, it is important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney, such as the team at Point Law Group. Our team represents victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and will provide the right guidance to protect your rights. Contact our team at 310-560-0606 for a free consultation with an employment lawyer Los Angeles CA!