Sexual harassment is a persisting problem in U.S. workplaces, despite state and federal laws prohibiting it. In fact, as we noted in a recent blog, about 1 in every 3 women in the U.S. is subjected to some type of workplace sexual harassment by the age of 34.
As distressing as this may be, understanding the following facts about workplace sexual harassment can empower workers, helping them take the appropriate actions to protect themselves and get on the path to justice and recovery if they are ever sexually harassed at work.
The Facts about Sexual Harassment at Work
- Employers’ sexual harassment policies can be different from the law – Employers can have anti-sexual harassment policies that are more specific and possibly more expansive and stringent than violations described in state and federal laws. This could mean that more subtle behaviors could violate the employer’s policies but not necessarily the law. Aside from speaking with a sexual harassment attorney, individuals should consult their employer’s policies if they feel like they have been subjected to questionable behavior, actions or contact at work.
- When sexual harassment occurs at work, speaking up and documenting the incident can be crucial – Specifically, speaking up can be saying anything to alert the harasser and/or the employer that certain actions are unwelcomed. After that, document what happened, writing down the details as you remember them about the incident, witnesses, date, location, etc. This record may be significant later, especially if there are multiple instances of sexual harassment.
- There may be various options for reporting what happened – After workplace sexual harassment occurs, people can report what happened to someone in their human resources (HR) department, their supervisor, the supervisor of another department or any person in a position of authority to take action. Companies with well-developed sexual harassment policies will typically have more than one option for filing complaints (and these should be documented in an employee handbook).
- Reports of workplace sexual harassment should be met with unbiased employer investigations – And these investigations should be thorough, including elements like interviewing the alleged harasser, any witnesses to the harassment, etc. In some cases, these investigations can involve personnel records, work emails and other paper trails, depending on the nature of the allegations. The goal should generally be to come to an objective finding regarding whether workplace sexual harassment occurred. When there are questions about the impartiality of the investigation or the investigator, it may be time to contact a Los Angeles employment lawyer.
- There are additional options when victims feel like their complaints have not been properly investigated, addressed or resolved by employers – And one of these can be to retain an attorney who can help you advocate and defend your rights moving forward. The bottom line is that workplace sexual harassment can be psychologically and financially damaging and that having an experienced lawyer on your side can help you protect your interests while pursuing justice.
Contact a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP
Call us at (310) 575-2550 or email us using the contact form on this page to set up an initial consult with one of our lawyers.