Employee – Employee Harassment
You love your job, but your workplace environment is full of unwanted advances, inappropriate comments, or overt sexual harassment. Instead of coming from management, these harassing actions and comments are coming from your other co-workers. Harassment in your work environment should never be tolerated as part of your employment.
At California Employment Counsel, APC, we know that you have a right to a safe work environment, free from sexual harassment. Sometimes sexual harassment occurs even though such actions violate federal and state laws, as well as company policies. An employer must take such complaints seriously and take action to remedy the situation and prevent any future harassment in its organization.
What actions constitute sexual harassment?
It is important to note that sexual harassment includes any of the following:
- Any major or minor unwanted or unwelcome physical touching or contact
- Any form of sexual advances, including verbal offers or requests
- The display or sending of any sexually suggestive explicit pictures via electronic means or posted in offices or public areas
- Any lewd, explicit or sexually suggestive text messages, email, or postings on any social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Any sexually suggestive comments directed at you or around you
While it is paramount that the employer sets the tone for the company, many times employers do not educate their employees regarding sexual harassment in the workplace or investigate sexual harassment claims. Oftentimes, sexual harassment is simply overlooked or discounted. In some cases, the allegations are not taken seriously, and the perpetrator is not fired. In even worse situations, the victim is retaliated against by the employer or other employees for speaking out. The fears of filing a sexual harassment grievance are justified, but you should fight for your right to a safe workplace, free from emotional and possible physical harm.
What parties are liable for employee-to-employee harassment?
Ultimately, the responsibility for the tone of the workplace, and your safety rest with your employer. Your employer will be responsible and liable for any harassment by other employees in a non-supervisory status, over whom they have control if the circumstances create a hostile work environment, and your employer fails to take proper action to remedy the situation and prevent future harassment. This includes harassment from other employees and even independent contractors on the premises. If an employer has knowledge that any type of sexual harassment is going on in the workplace, even among employees, they must take immediate action.
At California Employment Counsel, APC, we are here to advocate for you when you find yourself in a work situation that involves sexual harassment. Your employer may not be taking your grievance seriously, protecting your safety, or your rights.
Standing up for your rights in the workplace can be terrifying. If your grievance has fallen on deaf ears with your employer, or worse, if your employer has threatened retaliation against you for bringing your complaint, we can help. We will be with you step-by-step through the entire process of reporting the abuse, filing a sexual harassment claim and, if needed, pursuing legal action.