Sexual harassment has been in the news in California recently, continuing the #MeToo movement. The social awareness surrounding the issue has inspired many people to come forward about their experiences.
Many cases featured on the news have involved well-known personalities in the broadcasting industry. One case in the early 2000s involved sexually explicit content featured on radio programs. A female broadcaster filed a lawsuit alleging that a coworker referred to her and her appearance in a sexually degrading manner. She eventually left the show after her supervisor refused to take action to stop the harassing comments.
Employers in the industry are now realizing that tolerating sexual harassment could lead to serious legal consequences and bad publicity. Many employers recognize that office romances are inevitable and that many people date and sometimes marry coworkers. However, claims can arise when what started out as mutual flirtation becomes non-consensual harassment. Employers must recognize that this is a common occurrence and take complaints seriously. Claims may arise from alleged conduct by anyone connected with the workplace, including supervisors, co-workers, advertisers and vendors.
Workers and employees who are concerned about sexual harassment may benefit from consulting an attorney experienced in employment law. A broad range of behaviors may legally constitute sexual harassment, such as offensive lewd comments and unwanted sexual advances. It is important for employers to understand examples of behavior that must not be tolerated.
Victims of sexual harassment may be able to file a claim for damages. Employees who have experienced a demotion, worse work hours, unlawful retaliation or other damages as a result of sexual harassment may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Some claims might be time-barred if the claimant waits too long to report them or file a claim, so potential claimants may want to speak to an attorney right away.