On average, Americans spend a third of their lives at work. When so much of our lives is spent with the same group of colleagues, it can be difficult to know when friendships or harmless flirting crosses the line into sexual harassment.
If your work environment is getting uncomfortable, it is important to learn more about the types of behaviors that are acceptable, and the type that are against the law. If you are unsure if a behavior crosses the line, always speak with an experienced Modesto harassment attorney.
The most obviously unlawful form of sexual harassment is unwanted physical touching. While grabbing and groping are never appropriate, physical sexual harassment can also take the form of a hand on a shoulder, standing or sitting too closely, or blocking or impeding someone from getting where they are trying to go. Though some of these things can seem to be a matter of perspective, it can be harassment if it makes another person uncomfortable and is unwelcome. If speaking with the offending person and speaking with human resources or a supervisor does not correct the behavior, then the harassed employee may be able to file a lawsuit.
When sexual harassment is verbal, it often takes the form of inappropriate comments. These can range from blatant sexual advances to comments about a person’s body or clothing. In addition, verbal sexual harassment could be dirty jokes or tales of sexual exploits, even if not directed at one person in particular. Working in an environment where sex is discussed openly is uncomfortable for many employees and can often be the basis of a sexual harassment claim.
What an employee sees on a daily basis can also be the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Workers who are exposed to lewd signs, posters or calendars are often uncomfortable, even if the subject matter is supposed to be humorous. Also, graphic screensavers or backgrounds on computers, as well as viewing pornography in the workplace can be the basis for a sexual harassment complaint.
What To Do If You Are Being Harassed
If you feel uncomfortable in the workplace due to another person’s behavior, always say something. If you do not want to approach the offending person directly, speak with someone in the human resources department or a manager or supervisor. An employer has an obligation to investigate and address your complaint in a timely manner.
To the extent possible, the harassed employee usually has the obligation of taking advantage or any remedial opportunities offered by the employer, such as reporting the harassment to the company. The employer does not always have to terminate the offending employee, especially if he or she were simply not aware that a particular behavior was making another person uncomfortable. However, if the situation does not improve, or if a blatantly abusive person is allowed to remain with the company, the employer could be liable for serious damages. If you are unsure about the actions you should take after experiencing harassment at work, always schedule an appointment to speak with a Modesto employment discrimination attorney.
Sacramento, CA 95821
Sacramento, CA 95821