Sexual harassment in the workplace is somewhat of a gray area because what one employee might consider friendly or gregarious, another might find to be an unwelcome advance. At the end of the day, though, everyone has the right to a certain level of comfort and security at work, and if anything—or anyone—violates that right, they have legal recourse.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment and want to explore your options for holding the perpetrator accountable, turn to the Law Offices of Joel W. Baruch, P.C. Joel Baruch is proud to help employees assert their rights in the workplace. Call 949-864-9662 to schedule a case evaluation with an Irvine sexual harassment attorney.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is conduct that explicitly or implicitly affects an employee’s job status, interferes with his or her performance, or fosters a hostile work environment. This might include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances;
- Verbal conduct of a sexual or objectifying nature;
- Physical conduct of a sexual or objectifying nature; and
- Requests for inappropriate favors of a sexual nature.
When it comes to sexual harassment, every case is different because this kind of workplace discrimination takes many forms. For example, the gender of the victim and perpetrator does not matter. A case might involve a man and a woman, two men, or two women.
The relationship between the victim and harasser is also irrelevant. The harasser might be the victim’s supervisor, co-worker, or subordinate. It may even be a non-employee, like an individual who represents one of the company’s many vendors.
In some cases, the victim may not be directly involved in the explicit exchange. If your coworkers partake in offensive conduct that makes you uncomfortable, for example, you may be the victim of sexual harassment even if you were not necessarily their intended target.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Countless actions, advances, and exchanges can fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment. Some common examples include:
- Unwanted touching, pinching, cornering, or leaning over;
- Voicemails, emails, or text messages of a sexual nature;
- Cat calling;
- Turning work discussions into conversations of a sexual nature;
- Spreading rumors about an individual’s sex life;
- Giving personal gifts;
- Making sexual gestures;
- Repeatedly asking out an individual who is not interested; and
- Massaging someone’s neck or shoulders.
What Should You Do If You Have Been the Victim of Sexual Harassment?
Because of the prevalence of sexual harassment, most workplaces are equipped to handle complaints. If you work for a smaller company that does not have its own human resources department, though, you may not know where to turn.
In such a scenario, it is wise to call on an aggressive attorney. In fact, you should consider seeking legal counsel even if your employer handles claims internally because even the most compassionate HR representative must ultimately protect the best interests of the company, not of individual employees.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, turn to the Law Offices of Joel W. Baruch, P.C. Our attorneys have litigated more than 200 trials.
Call 949-864-9662 to schedule a consultation with an Irvine employment law attorney. If you want to learn more about employment law in California, visit the USAttorneys website.