There is no laughing matter when it comes to sexual harassment. When your employer tries to trivialize or rationalize sexual harassment away, it can be highly damaging and demoralizing. You should not have to deal with this type of behavior in the workplace. Our California employment law attorneys discuss what to do when an employer tries to dismiss sexual harassment as 'just kidding.'
Sexual Jokes are Unacceptable at Work
Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is all too common.
- In 2019, over 39,000 retaliation claims were filed, representing nearly 54% of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- That same year, employers paid out a record $68.2 million to those alleging sexual harassment violations through the EEOC.
- Women filed 78.2% of the sexual harassment charges received between 2018 and 2021.
These statistics are likely just the tip of the iceberg, as many people who experience sexual harassment never report it.
Sexual harassment can take many forms, but one of the most common is sexual joking or banter. This type of behavior may seem harmless, but it can be extremely offensive and upsetting. Other examples of sexual jokes that may be considered harassment include:
- Sexualized comments about a person's body or appearance
- Sexual innuendos
- Comments or jokes about someone's sex life
- Sexualized pranks
- Lewd gestures
To add insult to injury, many employers try to rationalize or trivialize this behavior, harboring a toxic work environment in which employees feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
What to Do If Facing Sexually Harassment at Work
You should never have to put up with sexual jokes at work. Sexual harassment is a serious issue and it should be treated as such. There are a few things you can do if faced with this type of situation:
- Talk to your employer or HR department about the situation.
- Keep a record of any incidents that occur.
- Seek support from a professional organization or counselor.
- Speak with an experienced employment lawyer.
If you are dealing with this situation, we encourage you to seek help and take action as soon as possible. Taking steps to protect yourself and your rights is essential. It may also prevent you and others from continuing to face the harassment.
"What If My Employer Retaliates Against Me For Speaking Up?"
If you speak up about sexual harassment in the workplace, your employer may not take kindly to it. They may try to retaliate against you by:
- threatening your job,
- giving you a negative performance review,
- or making it difficult for you to do your job,
That said, workplace retaliation is illegal and is not tolerated under the law. Both federal and state laws protect employees from these types of retaliatory actions against them. It would help if you spoke to an employment attorney who can assess the particularities of your case. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options when facing workplace retaliation. An attorney can also help you gather evidence of the retaliation to build a strong case.
Southern California Labor Law Group PC Will Advocate For You
Sexual harassment is a serious issue and should be treated as such. Sexual harassment causes mental distress and anxiety, which can even lead to depression. Know that you are not alone.
If you face sexual harassment in the workplace, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with it. Our California sexual harassment attorneys will stand up for you and advocate on your behalf to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
To get a free consultation, call today at (424) 306-1515 or fill out our online contact form.