The daily news cycle bears out that sexual harassment in the workplace is still a very real problem for employees in California and throughout the country. This type of harassment in the workplace can be very direct, such as inappropriate touching or sexual advances, or it can be somewhat indirect, such as sly remarks or hushed conversations between supervisors and managers. All of it can lead to creating a workplace that is hostile for employees to deal with.
So, what are your options against sexual harassment in the workplace? There is no real "set" series of actions to take because, in many cases, the employee who is being harassed may fear the retaliation that could come with any steps taken. However, in most cases, the first step would typically be for the employees to inform their immediate supervisor of the issue and hope that it is addressed "internally."
But, what if the harassment is actually coming from your immediate supervisor? Well, that is when things might become a bit more complicated. If there is no one else in the workplace, such as a human resources department or higher-level manager, to report the issue to, it may be necessary to make a report with a state or federal agency tasked with addressing harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This could include the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Such a report may trigger an investigation of the employer and the incidents in question.
Despite the emotional turmoil that can come with being the victim of sexual harassment, it is important for victims to understand their legal options. It may be possible to hold the aggressive harassers accountable for the hostile workplace being created by their conduct.