Sexual harassment is an unwanted sexual advance or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It is a form of discrimination in employment. Sexual harassment can take many forms such as:
- Sending sexually suggestive pictures, cartoons, or objects.
- Making sexually degrading comments.
- Sending obscene images.
- Discussing sexual acts.
- Offering employment or other benefits in exchange for sexual favours.
- Making unwanted sexual advances or touching.
These acts are prohibited under federal and state law. Federal and state law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who have complained about sexual harassment in the workplace. Examples of retaliation include:
- Reassigning job duties.
- Withdrawing supervisory responsibilities.
- Reducing pay or hours.
- Terminating employment.
- Threatening to reduce pay or hours.
- Excessively criticizing work product.
Under California law, an employer is liable for damages if they knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate action to correct it.
1.Understand Your Rights
Employers are required by law to have a policy on sexual harassment. Employees must also be made aware of the policy. When sexual harassment is reported, employers must take immediate and appropriate corrective measures. Carefully read your employer’s sexual harassment policies and follow the procedure for reporting sexual harassment.
2. Keep Evidence
Keep each harassing message, note, email, or text sent to you. Be sure to gather evidence to support your claim. Resist the urge to delete these harmful messages. Record when and where the harassment occurred and also record who witnessed the harassing conduct. Record this information as soon after the event as possible. And do this after each incident. Keep these records in a safe place such as a personal email account that your employer or harasser can’t access.
3. Report each incident
Follow your employer’s procedure for reporting workplace harassment. Be sure to make each complaint in writing. If you email your complaint, ask the recipient to send an email confirming “delivery” and “read”. Keep a copy of each written complaint that you made.
When writing each workplace harassment complaint, describe the incident in as much detail as possible. Include the names of any witnesses along with the names of anyone that you talked to about the incident. Witnesses will help substantiate your sexual harassment claim.
4. Think carefully before sharing anything on social media
Be careful about what you post on social media. It is generally not confidential. Social media postings about your employer or any incident involving sexual harassment are relevant to your case. The harasser or your employer can find out what you post on social media and use it to discredit you or dispute the damages that you suffered.
In California, victims can be compensated for their damages from sexual harassment. This includes compensation for emotional distress as well as past and future lost wages. In California, there is a limitation on how long you have to file a complaint, so act quickly. Contact a sexual harassment law firm at Seber Bulger Law to consult with an experienced workplace harassment lawyer.