The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that retaliation arising from sexual harassment complaints are steadily increasing, making up as much as 45% of EEOC charges filed nationwide. A recent case that the EEOC investigated involved a California restaurant whose young male workers were subjected to sexual harassment.
Videotaping without Consent
The male complainant was a server who alleged that the harasser videotaped him and other young male co-workers while they were using the men’s bathroom. For complaining, the worker was demoted, given less working hours, provided a less favorable work schedule, and subjected to excessive and unwarranted disciplinary action.
The employer eventually agreed to settle the case by paying an amount to be divided among the harassment victims and agreed to:
- Revise its harassment and retaliation policies
- Provide yearly training on practices against discrimination
- Retain a monitor to assist in training and adjusting the company’s policies
- Post an employee notice regarding sexual harassment policies
- Undertake record keeping and reporting to the EEOC
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal to subject a worker to sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment covers many types of offensive behavior, verbal or physical, such as:
- Making unwelcome sexual advances
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures
- Making sexual comments and using degrading words to describe an individual
- Physical touching or assault
- Actual or threatened retaliation
Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment
An employer or business owner is generally liable for the harassment committed by their supervisors or agents. In addition to prohibiting retaliation for complaining about harassment, the law also requires employers to take affirmative steps to prevent harassment and they can be held liable for their failure to do so.
If you are the victim of offensive conduct with sexual undertones, it’s not always easy to determine whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment. An experienced employment attorney can evaluate your situation and represent you in an action for damages against your employer, if necessary.
In Los Angeles, California, the employment attorneys at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP have years of proven experience handling sexual harassment cases. We also handle other types of employment disputes such as wrongful termination, wage and hour law violations, and employment discrimination. Call for a free consultation at (310) 575-2550.