Many people in the Woodland Hills area work for large corporations. Employee loyalty can lead some people to stay with one employer for decades, and these employees deserve to be treated fairly in the workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is an ongoing problem that affects workers of all genders.
Sexual harassment is more than just humiliating, offensive and intimidating — it is a form of unlawful sex discrimination. Sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature that is based on a worker’s sex that is unwanted and leads to an offensive, hostile or intimidating work environment constitutes illegal sexual harassment. Both California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and federal law through Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace it can be confusing to know what to do. You may fear ongoing harassment, retaliation or you may fear for your safety. The following are some steps you can take if you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Check your employer’s sexual harassment policy. Many large employers have policies and internal procedures in place with regards to sexual harassment. Go over this policy if one exists. It can help to keep a paper trail of all incidents of harassment.
- Report the harassment to your employer, following the steps of the company’s sexual harassment policy if there is one. Sometimes, if you do not follow internal reporting requirements, you could lose the ability to take action against your employer. Keep in mind, however, the harassers may still be personally liable for their conduct.
- File a complaint either with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you file a complaint with one of these agencies, it will be cross-filed automatically with the other agency.
- After you file a complaint, the DFEH or EEOC will evaluate your complaint and if appropriate will perform an investigation. Through the investigation of the complaint, the other party must submit a response, which the agency will review with you.
- If the other party’s response is not satisfactory and it is determined that illegal conduct occurred, your case may be mediated, or it may be possible at this point to pursue a legal claim.
All workers deserve to feel safe and secure in their workplace. There is no excuse or justification for sexual harassment in the workplace. Those who are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace will want to seek the advice of attorneys who have the experience necessary to protect their clients’ rights and futures. It is important to note that anyone can be sexually harassed in the workplace — women, men and transgendered persons. An attorney can be a strong advocate, providing the representation needed to stand up against large corporations and ensure justice is done.