Many Californians spend 40 hours or more per week at work, so it is important that they feel comfortable and safe in the workplace. If you are facing sexual harassment in the workplace, you may feel uneasy, anxious and fearful while at work.
You may be especially uncomfortable if the person harassing you is a coworker or supervisor you interact with regularly.
Fortunately, you can take legal action against your employer if they do not take steps to prevent or stop the harassment from occurring. Sexual harassment at work may constitute a hostile work environment if certain criteria is met.
Generally, a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment requires:
- Offensive conduct based on the person’s sex: Offensive comments about a person’s sex or of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual advances, and requests for sexual favors are all examples of sexual harassment.
- Harassment of a severe and pervasive nature: A one-time comment or behavior is generally not enough to constitute a hostile work environment. You must show that the behavior happens often enough to create a work environment that prevents you from completing your work or subjects you to an adverse employment action (e.g., you got fired because you rejected your supervisor’s sexual advances).
Once you have established a hostile work environment, you will likely need to show the steps both you and your employer have taken to put an end to the harassment. You may show that you told the harasser to stop the offensive behavior and reported the incidents to your supervisor and/or human resources.
You may also show that your employer failed to investigate your complaint, failed to implement an anti-harassment policy, or failed to reprimand the harasser appropriately.
No one deserves to be sexually harassed anywhere, including at their workplace. Filing a claim against your employer for a hostile work environment will hold the company accountable for its actions, or lack thereof.