Employers have a duty to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Not only is maintaining a workplace that is free of sexual harassment a legal duty, but it is also crucial for maintaining company morale. If you allow sexual harassment in the workplace to persist, you can face extreme repercussions, such as poor company morale, lawsuits, and more.
Therefore, protecting your employees from sexual harassment in the workplace is extremely important. The same laws that forbid sexual harassment also apply to gender discrimination. The federal law that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace is known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It is important to know that every state has its own laws pertaining to anti-sexual harassment.
In this article, we will discuss what sexual harassment is, as well as important prevention strategies that you can take. If you are in need of more information regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, our team is here to help. At Point Law Group, we represent victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and work diligently on behalf of our clients every step of the way. Contact us at 877-764-6854 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles employment lawyer!
What is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is any type of uninvited sexual advance or behavior in the workplace that results in a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment. Any type of behavior that is of sexual nature that results in an employee to feel uncomfortable has the potential to be sexual harassment.
It is important to realize that sexual harassment in the workplace can come in a variety of forms. Here are some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- An office manager hints to an employee that the employee must sleep with him in order to maintain employment
- A sales associate makes degrading remarks about female customers to his coworkers
- An employee in a law firm feels uncomfortable by the attorneys who regularly make sexually inappropriate jokes
- A clerk at an office or store fondles a coworker against her will
- A receptionist’s coworkers make demeaning comments to her that are sexist
- A supervisor sends emails to coworkers that involve sexually explicit language or jokes
The sexual harassment perpetrator can be anyone, including an employer, manager, supervisor, or coworker. Employers may even be held responsible for harassment experienced by an individual who is not an employee, such as a customer or a vendor, depending on the circumstances.
Anyone can be sexually harassed in the workplace and is not exclusive to one gender. In fact, sexual harassment in a gender-neutral wrongdoing. For example, a man can sexually harass a woman, and a woman can sexually harass a man. However, data has shown that a great degree of sexual harassment claims and charges are made by women claiming that they were sexually harassed by men.
Another important factor to know is that individuals of the same sex can harass each other as well if the harassment is founded on sex, as opposed to sexual orientation. Currently, sexual harassment based on sexual orientation is not protected under Title VII. For example, if a man’s coworkers continuously show him sexually explicit photos of women and it makes him uncomfortable, this may be grounds for a sexual harassment claim. However, if a man’s coworkers belittle or mock a man because he is gay, then this may not be considered sexual harassment under the federal law. Despite this not currently being protected under Title VII, it is important to know that such acts may be illegal under laws made by certain states and even cities. Although such conduct is not illegal, it is crucial to know and understand that it is not appropriate and responsible employers can and will put a stop to it immediately.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Strategies
There is a great number of steps that employers can take to minimize the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace. While it may not be possible to do all of the steps listed below, you should make it a priority to take as many of these steps as you can.
- Establish a clear sexual harassment policy in your employee handbook that prohibits such acts or behavior
- Conduct annual training for employees
- Conduct annual training for managers, supervisors, and executives
- Closely monitor the workplace
- Take complaints seriously and promptly investigate the matter and take appropriate actions immediately if the complaint is valid
Contact Point Law Group For a Free Consultation
If you are in need of more information regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, our team is here to help. At Point Law Group, we represent victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and work diligently on behalf of our clients every step of the way. Contact us at 310-560-0606 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles employment lawyer!