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What Really Constitutes Harassment?

— February 11, 2022

Another important factor is whether or not the harassment is gender-based. Are your co-workers and supervisors harassing you specifically based on your gender?

The term “workplace sexual harassment” is an admittedly vague one. As an employee in San Bernardino, you might be unsure about what really constitutes harassment in your California workplace. Where is the line between vaguely uncomfortable conduct and acts that are illegal? It’s important to know exactly when conduct becomes illegal, because you can sue as soon you experience it. 

While filing a lawsuit might seem daunting, it can be one of the few ways to hold your employer accountable for allowing this toxic work environment to fester. You are fully entitled to take action in this manner, and doing so can provide you with a considerable settlement. This form of financial compensation can help you achieve closure and a sense of justice as you recover from the psychological and financial ramifications of workplace sexual harassment. The good news is that you can get started today by getting in touch with a qualified, experienced attorney who is familiar with employment laws. 

Is it Unwanted?

The most important criterion for sexual harassment is consent. If you do not appreciate the way you’re being treated at work and you’d like the behavior to stop, then it is most likely a form of harassment. You can also experience forms of harassment in an indirect manner that are unwanted. For example, you might overhear your co-workers telling misogynist jokes, or perhaps they decorate the walls with unsuitable pictures of women. Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to accept a hostile work environment. 

Is the Harassment Gender-Based?

Another important factor is whether or not the harassment is gender-based. Are your co-workers and supervisors harassing you specifically based on your gender? Or are they instead exposing you to a more broad form of harassment that is independent of your gender? Sexual harassment is almost always gender-based, as one would expect that a woman would not be subject to unwanted sexual advances and other behavior if they were instead male. In contrast, being harassed simply because you’re the “rookie” may not constitute sexual harassment. Ask yourself: “If I were a different gender, would I still be experiencing this harassment? If the answer is “no,” it’s probably sexual harassment.

Angry woman at laptop; image by Elisa Ventur, via

Was Your Employer Made Aware of the Harassment?

Finally, you need to make your employer aware of the harassment. If you fail to do this, you will struggle to achieve success in your lawsuit. This is because in order to actually take action and address the problem, your employer needs to be aware of the issue. If they were never made aware, you cannot reasonably hold them accountable. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you’ve experienced workplace sexual harassment, reach out to a qualified attorney at your earliest convenience. With their help, you can file a lawsuit and pursue real justice. If you’re not certain whether your experiences constitute sexual harassment, an attorney can help figure it all out. Book your consultation today, and your attorney can give you sound legal advice based on your unique situation. 

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