Sexual harassment is something that needs to be rooted out. It is defined as an intention to hurt or intimidate by using a variety of things but essentials are making jokes that have a sexual note, comments, gestures and so on.
When it comes to sexual harassment it is a really big problem that needs to be addressed immediately and it has to be dealt with in the same manner. Leaving this unverified or giving time for the culprit to apologize usually never leads to anything and it will give more wind in the back for the harasser to “attack” again.
Around 90% of sexual harassment comes from the place of work and it is coming from the people you work with. For a long time, it was believed that only females are sexually harassed, but men can be victims of this as well. Research conducted in 2015 showed 6,822 cases of sexual harassment were submitted to EEOC and around 18% of those were filed by men.
As you can see this is not a joke, although joking inappropriately is what eventually leads to these claims. This is a serious matter and it needs to be addressed seriously. If you or anyone you know has this type of problem they should immediately file a complaint in their place of work and get a lawyer, like Bibiyan Law Group, that can successfully help them out.
Now we shall dive into some legal matters you should know regarding sexual harassment in California so stick with us.
1. California Governmental code section 12940
According to this law, no employer is allowed to by law or should ever discriminate against their workers because of his/her sex. According to this code, we have two clear sexual harassment types – quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
- Quid pro quo means that no supervisor, manager or boss should ever offer any job or job-related benefits to the employers in exchange for anything sexually or harassing related to the employer. This translated to something we all can understand means that the boss might offer a raise to a worker if he/she wears those “sexy pants” again! If you do whatever for me I will do something for you, and the threats go there as well if they are bold to the point that they will threaten someone with firing if they don’t accept their sexual advances.
- The hostile work environment – the most common type of sexual harassment everywhere as well as in California. It revolves around different types of verbal and/or physical types of conduct that have a sexual nature. Every victim has to prove this by showing that there were – sexual advances that were unwelcome, harassment that can be perceived as severe or pervasive, and that the employer had knowledge or should have known about this.
- Unwelcomed advances have to be proven to a jury and they are somewhat difficult to do because it is a thin line to where something may be OK at certain points but start being after some. Here you need to explain and show that you didn’t contribute to the bad behaviour of your supervisor or boss and you have to have to prove that at some point it was OK and the circumstances changed and it had to stop. This is all done by making a written complaint to Human Resources, or to the bad guy that is doing the harassing.
- The severe or pervasive workplace environment is real when factors, defined by KC jury instruction 2524, which are are Nature of the conduct, Frequency, physical, offensive/humiliating and did the comment or conduct reasonably interfere with the job performance are present and determined.
- With this third thing, there is a difference in who does the harassing – manager or a co-worker. If the person harassing you is at a managerial level, any manager at all, not necessarily yours, the company is automatically held reliable. On the other hand, if it is a co-worker you need to show evidence that you have notified the company about this and they still did nothing. You prove this with your written complaints or if you find out that the harasser has already harassed someone in the past.
2. Harassment prevention
California Governmental code section 12940 subsection K states that every employer has to prevent harassment. This is a part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act or FEHA. It states that employers have to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring. In real practice, this would mean that your employer immediately moves both of you away from each other and conduct an investigation that will be unbiased. Employers usually make these makeshift investigations and look for a reason to fire the victim.
3. Money damage
For most, these types of compensation aren’t important, especially if a huge wrong has been brought upon the victim. Law does try to see us all as a whole and this is why it tries to return us to the state in which we were before this wrong happened. This is done by compensating you for your:
- Emotional distress – pain and suffering that you went through thanks to the harassment, are often the largest component in sexual harassment cases.
- Economic damages are easily calculated because those are the paychecks that you lost if you ended up kicked away from your job after filing a sexual harassment case.
- Punitive damages are a punishment of the employer for trying to cover it up or kicking you out while retaining the harasser or anything in between.
- Attorney fees are your ability, provided by the California FEHA, to recover all the fees that went to your attorney.
Harassment cases almost anywhere, including California, take far too long to litigate. According to the info that is available online and according to some experiences from victims of sexual harassment that took to court, around one to two years is a period you should expect for the justice system to deal with your harassment case. These are tough and they do take a lot of time, they put you to stress, but if you are a victim, perseverance in this is imperative for you, for all the future and past victims who couldn’t, who didn’t have a lawyer, who was hushed down and paid off. This is a true problem and everyone needs to fight to root it out.