You may have heard of recent updates to California’s sexual harassment law that apply to employers here in Glendale and throughout the rest of the state. Updated law provides that provisions in sexual harassment settlements that prohibit the disclosure of certain information are now banned and not enforceable. Certain information that is no longer protected in settlement agreements includes the occurrence of sexual assault and an employer’s retaliation against a sexual harassment victim. The law still permits safeguarding the victim’s identity and facts that lead to the victim’s identity. What you should understand from this is that the state of California wants to protect sexual harassment victims and wants to eliminate protections for sexual harassers.
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwanted sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment or conduct that interferes with a person’s job performance. Examples of sexual harassment may include inappropriate jokes or comments, unwanted touching, sexually suggestive emails, photos or other displays, derogatory comments, and quid pro quo pressure.
Reporting sexual harassment
If you have been sexually harassed at work, your workplace may have policies and procedures for reporting sexual harassment. It is important that you follow these procedures to make your employer aware of the sexual harassment and so that they may protect you by putting a stop to it. If your employer does not have a sexual harassment reporting policy or if your employer fails to stop the harassment after you have reported it, it is time to take measures to protect yourself from the harassment and from your employers who are failing you.
Why it often goes unreported
Sexual harassment often goes unreported for a number of reasons including those described as follows:
- Fear of retaliation – When an employee fears his or her job will be in jeopardy because the employer will fire or otherwise impact his or her job as punishment.
- Fear of safety – When an employee feels his or her harasser will get mad and there are no protections in place for the employee.
- Fear it will harm the employee’s career – The employee may feel that his or her career will be negatively impacted after leaving his or her employment because stories may follow him or her.
- Judgment – Employees may fear being judged by other employees or superiors as being difficult or promiscuous. And male employees often worry about reporting harassment for fear of their masculinity or sexual orientation being judged by others.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and so is a knowing employer’s failure to stop the harassment and protect its employees. If you have been sexually harassed, contact a Glendale sexual harassment attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers to schedule a consultation. We can help you with everything from advice in handling workplace sexual harassment, drafting a human resources sexual harassment complaint, and filing a sexual harassment lawsuit. Our sexual harassment team wants to see that our clients are protected from sexual harassment and fully compensated for injuries and damages sustained as a result of being subjected to workplace sexual harassment.