Do You Recognize Sexual Harassment at the Workplace? — California Employment Lawyer

Can you recognize sexual harassment at work? Have you been subjected to it yourself or seen it happen to others.

The president of Eden Foods Inc. didn’t seem to know his actions were considered sexual harassment and assault. In fact, he laughed when confronted by his HR representative about complaints from several female employees, saying “All these girls want me.”

Obviously, the women who complained didn’t agree with him.

The told the natural foods company’s human resources department. The accusations were the president of the company regularly touched their legs, shoulders, back and buttocks. He also reportedly pressed up against them, kissed them and made lewd and crude sexual comments, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Despite the complaints, his behavior continued until a lawsuit finally ended it.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from unwanted sexual harassment in the workplace.

No employer has the right to behave this way towards their employees, but it continues to happen, said Attorney James Johnson.

“Employees shouldn’t have to choose between reporting sexual harassment and keeping their jobs,” the employment lawyer said. “California law protects workers, but they have to speak up first.”

Employers Cannot Fire Employees Reporting Sexual Harassment

These are certainly not isolated incidents. In fact, at least three female employees sued billionaire entrepreneur Alkiviades David in Los Angeles Superior Court. They claimed they were fired after he sexually harassed them and endured other inappropriate behavior at his television production company where they worked. Two accused the British-Greek entrepreneur of making them watch fetishist videos, wear electric shock collars and view suggestive photos of him.

They described the workplace as hostile, misogynistic and rife with sexual innuendo and degrading behavior towards women. Three lawsuits so far against the billionaire have resulted in $74 million in verdicts. Two other sexual harassment cases are pending in court.

How Are Victims Protected? 

These are certainly not isolated cases. Sexual assault and harassment victims in the workplace often remain silent. Many don’t know they are protected by local, state and federal laws in the workplace. 

It is a crime to harass an employee or co-worker, no matter if the abuse is verbal, visual or physical. Any unwanted sexual contact is punishable by law. 

In California, sexual battery or sexual assault can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The law protects all employees, regardless of their age, gender or sexual orientation, from these types of abuses. Also, underage employees cannot consent to a sexual act with an adult and they are protected under California law.   

Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment

There are three types of harassment: verbal, physical, and visual. It doesn’t matter how harassment takes place. If it affects you in any way, know that state, federal, and local laws all protect you and help you get justice.

Verbal

The most common type of harassment could be anything from a crude text message or email to embarrassing or offensive language used to attack you or harass you. Some examples are inappropriate jokes, catcalls, gossip, remarks, uninvited messaging, teasing, sexually explicit comments, or asking sexually related questions. Asking someone to go out with you, demanding sex, unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors.

Physical

The law protects employees from any sort of physical gesture and the person does not have to actually touch the employee for it to be considered harassment.

The most common physical harassment in the workplace involves unwanted kissing, touching of breasts or genitals, butt slapping, bumping or rubbing against a person, rape are offense that may result in criminal charges as well as qualify for a civil lawsuit. ,

Visual

While exposing private parts to another worker is obviously wrong, an offensive comic strip, poster, photo or magazine in someone’s cubicle may not be as obvious. However, over time, this can lead to a hostile work environment. Sending sexual images or videos to another worker is considered harassment. Any time someone shares vulgar, pornographic, or violent images with another in the workplace, Staring at another worker or making sexual gestures may also create a hostile work environment and qualify for compensation.

California Employment Law Attorney

James Johnson - California Employment Law
James Johnson, Johnson Attorneys Group, Employment Law Lawyer

All employees, regardless of their age, gender or sexual identity, should have a safe work environment free of sexual harassment and discrimination. That’s why the State of California has labor laws to protect employees from co-workers, supervisors, executives or company owners. These laws ensure workers are not terminated because they report sexual harassment, refuse sexual advances or suffer discrimination. Workers are protected whether the claim involves sexual harassment, assault, pregnancy discrimination, or any other Labor Code violation.

If you have suffered discrimination, racism, harassment, or another situation that is protected by law, we urge you to speak to a qualified employment law attorney about your rights. You may contact Johnson Attorneys Group to request a free consultation at 855-918-2240.