California employees are protected from any type of discrimination and harassment through both federal and state law. Sexual harassment is an issue that both women and men deal with every day in the workplace. When you fear your job is one the line, you may let comments slide or ignore advances, but the reality is that you should never feel uncomfortable or sexually harassed in the workplace.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the harasser and the victim can be a man or women and it does not have to be the opposite sex who is harassing you. Offhand, teasing comments may not be covered under the law, but anything that is severe or frequent enough to create an offensive or hostile work environment should be addressed.
Those doing the harassing are not just bosses and supervisors. Supervisors in other areas can also harass you, or co-workers, customers and clients. Sexual harassment can come in the form of a request for sexual favors, physical sexual assault, unwanted physical contact or touching, pressure to engage in a sexual way with someone or receiving unwanted texts, emails or photos that are sexually explicit.
There is a difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment. Harassment is typically a civil violation while assault is typically a criminal violation. Sexual misconduct can refer to the violation of company policies when it comes to relationships.
Sexual harassment can lead to humiliation, fear, anger, violation, betrayal, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches and increased stress levels. There are physical, mental and emotional effects of sexual harassment that can affect you for years to come. Anyone who fears they are bystanders or victims of sexual harassment may benefit from speaking to an employment attorney.
This information is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.