The law is very strict, but it does not include teasing or offhand comments.
San Diego, CA – Sexual harassment is illegal in California, under both the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Free Employment and Housing Act. Yet, what does this mean for the employee who’s constantly harassed at work and whose life has become a nightmare? You have the right to complain, but how do you actually prove you are a victim of sex-based discrimination? What if nobody believes me? If you want to make sure you have a case, you should look up the best San Diego sexual harassment lawyers. They will review your case, help you gather the evidence you need and guide you through the process of filing a complaint.
How is sexual harassment defined in California?
In a legal case, you have to refer to the definition of sexual harassment formulated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision. According to the EEOC, sexual harassment includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature… when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment”.
To put it in simple terms, sexual harassment can be described as:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature
- Unwelcome requests for sexual acts
- Unwelcome verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature
Bottom line, if it’s an act of a sexual nature that you find offensive that constitutes sexual harassment.
What are some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace?
When you contact California sexual harassment lawyers, they will want to hear all the details and there’s no need to be embarrassed. They have probably heard it all before. Here are some of the most common types of actions that fall under sexual harassment.
- Unwanted touching – repeated touching which has nothing to do with your work, groping, fondling, patting, leaning over or forcible kissing.
- Offensive comments – references to your looks, lewd jokes, the use of derogatory terms, or questions about your private life.
- Offensive visual display – putting up posters, drawings or cartoons with sexually-explicit content
- Inappropriate messages – sexully-charged jokes, pornographic videos or photos of the sender’s private parts.
Your sexual harassment lawyers will encourage you to write down everything, including the date of the incidents and who witnessed the offensive acts. When you file a complaint your lawyers will want to include testimonies from your coworkers. You can also use pictures of offensive displays around the office or copies of the inappropriate messages sent to you.
What isn’t sexual harassment?
The law is very strict, but it does not include teasing or offhand comments. Nor does it punish isolated incidents. Let’s say a coworker asks you out, on a date. If you say no and let them know you are not interested and they never mention it again, you cannot complain you were harassed. Also, if someone in your office makes a lewd joke and you make it clear you found it offensive, you cannot claim harassment if they never make similar jokes again.
According to the law, when you make a sexual harassment complaint you need to prove that the offensive conduct was of a pervasive nature and they did those things to you over and over.