Many in California would agree that it is important for women to be in the workplace and hold leadership positions at their jobs. However, there are some people who still believe in the “old boys club” that promotes male workers over female workers. Sometimes women are even exposed to sexual harassment or sex discrimination in the workplace.
Sexual harassment in the workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a subset of sex discrimination and is illegal under federal and state law. Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances, conduct that is sexual in nature and actions by a co-worker, supervisor or another person in the workplace that creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
California law states that the offensive acts do not need to have been made out of sexual desire. It is enough that they are based on the victim’s actual or perceived gender, pregnancy or other medical conditions.
Notes on sexual harassment
It is important to have a thorough understanding of sexual harassment in the workplace and hostile work environments. Under federal law, sexual harassment need not come from a higher-up. A supervisor from another department, a co-worker or even a client could all commit sexual harassment. Women can commit sexual harassment against other women and men can commit sexual harassment against men. In addition, sexual harassment can but does not need to involve financial damages or the firing of the victim. What is important is that the harasser’s actions are unwelcome.
Ultimately, if you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment it is important to act in a way that serves your best interests. You may file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or you may pursue a lawsuit depending on the facts of your case. With the right information you can feel empowered to learn more about sexual harassment in the workplace so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.