Most workers in California probably have a vague idea of what constitutes sexual harassment. Fortunately, most workers have probably not encountered such workplace harassment, but for those who have, the victimization can be damaging and long-lasting. Still, California has key laws in place meant to protect employees from certain types of disruptive and often highly demeaning behavior.
As with many sets of laws, though, there is no shortage of myths regarding sexual harassment on the job. One common stereotype regarding sexual harassment is that it always involves men harassing women. In reality, sexual harassment can occur between two workers of the same gender, and women are just as capable of harassment as their male counterparts. Any worker can find himself or herself the target of lewd comments, unwanted sexual advances or even wrongful termination due to sexual harassment. Fortunately, the law acknowledges this reality and any victim of sexual harassment, regardless of that person's sex, gender identity or sexual orientation can obtain protection from the law.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, sexual harassment's definition does not exclude gender-based harassment from a person of the same gender as the victim. Just a few examples of sexual harassment which can affect anybody include verbal sexual propositions, gesturing sexually, showing provocative photographs or objects and more. These actions are not limited to any gender and can impact the job performance and mental and emotional health of the person on the receiving end.
Sexual harassment does not belong in the workplace, and the law agrees. Those who believe they have been the target of harassment at work do not need to suffer alone; there are legal options for recourse in the midst of workplace harassment. A Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney can be a starting point for learning more about one's rights under California law.
Source: Society for Human Resource Management, "What are an employer's obligations under California law with regard to sexual harassment prevention?," accessed Jan. 23, 2016