As more and more women enter the workforce and hold high-ranking positions within a company, more attention has been placed on the topic of sexual harassment. Women and men alike have been victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace, but with the #metoo movement in full force, California and other states in the nation are implementing new laws regarding this form of workplace bullying.
Previous posts in this blog address the possibility of an employer’s retaliation against an employee for accusing someone in the workplace of sexual harassment. Whether a person is unfairly demoted, terminated or otherwise disciplined for reporting sexual harassment, retaliation is just as unlawful as the harassment itself. A new law serves to protect California employees from one type of retaliation – defamation litigation – after accusing someone of sexual harassment.
No matter where you work in California, days probably exist – maybe many of them – when you wish you did not have to be there. Maybe the problem is a nasty boss. Maybe a cranky coworker. Maybe the lunchroom that seems to breed nothing but lewd jokes and strange little green or black spots in the microwave.
Residents in California have certainly been aware that the issue of sexual harassment or misconduct has received more attention in the last year or so. For many, there are not only concerns about potential sexual harassment in the workplace but also about how allegations of these actions are handled. The state of California will see new laws go into effect in 2019 that will continue to place the burden of proof on the person making any allegations but that may well make it easier to prove them.
It is often one of the hardest questions to answer: Is a coworker or boss sexually harassing you, or is it just a harmless joke? The answer might be simpler than you think, once you understand the law.
In recent posts, this blog has discussed numerous ways employees are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, especially women in fields where this is common, such as the restaurant industry. However, many California residents may not realize that men can be victims of sexual harassment, as well. In fact, harassment is not limited to gender on either side.
When people are hired to work for a company, they may be required to sign an arbitration agreement. What employees may not know, is that when they sign this document, they are giving up their right to initiate lawsuits involving discrimination, labor violations, sexual harassment claims and any other type of discrimination. Rather than taking these matters to court, the arbitration agreement requires workers to work out the issue out of court using mediation.
When you hear about sexual harassment in the news, the story may talk about overt acts committed by creepy managers and lecherous customers. While you may know that sexual harassment in the workplace is common in California, you might not recognize its different forms. Many types of sexual harassment are subtler than the headlines suggest. In fact, sexual harassment often starts in less obvious ways before increasing in intensity, or it may remain subtle, yet equally damaging.
When people think of sexual harassment in the workplace, they often think of a man harassing a woman with either unwanted advances, explicit remarks or threats. The truth is, men are victims of harassment as well in California and across the entire country. Yet, these incidents are not heard of as often. More and more men are reporting cases of being harassed at work by other men or female coworkers or management, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The number rose from 11.6 percent of sexual harassment claims coming from men in 1997, to over 16 percent in 2011. In all actuality, this number is thought to be much higher, as many men do not report these incidents because they are embarrassed.
When people realize they are being sexually harassed in their California workplace, it is important for them to take action. While some people may want to report the harassment, many might wonder how they can do this while remaining professional.