No employee should feel nervous, anxious, or scared when coming into work. No one should be made uncomfortable by a fellow co-worker or boss. You are protected under California law and federal law to ensure your place of work is a safe one. What happens if you don’t feel comfortable or safe in your workplace? Here are the things to be aware of when it comes to fighting against workplace harassment:
Defining Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual advances (verbal, physical, visual) that lead to an employee feeling unsafe at work and thus creating an unwelcoming and hostile environment. This means sexual harassment can vary on a large scale, anything from an inappropriate email to your boss asking for sexual favors to being touched without your consent.
When you are at work and asked to perform sexual acts for favors at work, that is called “quid pro quo.” It comes from the Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” No one in your workplace can hold your wages, promotions, or other benefits as leverage for you to perform a sexual act. This is classified as workplace sexual harassment.
Signs Of Workplace Sexual Harassment
There are many tell-tale signs of a hostile work environment. Here are some events that should raise your concern:
- Inappropriate comments (verbal or written) about any employee’s body or appearance
- Inappropriate conversations about anything sexual
- Not respecting the space of another employee (being too close or too touchy)
- Sending or showing pornographic material to another employee
While this is a great list of things to keep an eye out for in your workplace, not all forms of harassment are visible or noticeable. This is another reason to create a safe environment for all people to come forward with their stories at work.
What Can Be Done At Work?
The best way to combat workplace harassment is to lead by example. You will be showing that harassment will not be tolerated at all, at any level, by any company employee. This guideline sets a crystal clear policy and shows that you are committed to protecting everyone in your company. Laying this groundwork can also help people feel less fearful about coming forward with their stories. They know there is zero-tolerance for harassment, so they won’t fear retaliation from the company or being dismissed.
It is crucial that if you find yourself being sexually harassed at work, to come forward and report it to either HR or a supervisor you trust. It can be scary. It can feel like you are alone. But, the acts of harassment cannot go on. You deserve to go to work without fear; you deserve to go to work and not have your work interrupted. Reporting your case to HR can help create a distinct timeline and record; should your company fail to take care of you, you have the proof to file a lawsuit against them.
Hiring Outside Help.
If you have been sexually harassed at work, you deserve the chance to fight for your rights. We at Southern California Labor Law Group PC understand sexual harassment can leave you uncertain and scared. We pride ourselves on learning about our clients and making sure we know their cases inside and out. It can be nerve-wracking, but we have the experience and determination to navigate this legal process. Contact us today by calling (424) 306-1515!