As any Los Angeles, California, resident can probably state, being a victim of sexual harassment is both a frightening and embarrassing experience. As such, it may be difficult for a victim to come out and report the problem to his or her employer, particularly if the report is going to make a manager or well-respected employee look bad or, worse, lose his or her job.
However, as tempting as it may be to run to the courthouse and sue or file an administrative complaint, Californians should be aware that the law may effectively require them to use internal reporting procedures their employee offers before taking additional action.
Specifically, someone who is getting harassed at the hands of a supervisor must take steps that are reasonable in order to prevent the problem. Generally speaking, using their employer's internal reporting system suffices. If the employer does not correct the issue, and an employee has to therefore quit his or her job because of a hostile work environment, then the employee is more likely to be successful suing in court.
There is one notable exception to this reporting requirement. If an employer actually takes an adverse action against the victim, like firing him or her or doing something else that is punitive in nature, then the victim does not have to use the employer's internal procedures before taking formal legal action.
A victim of sexual harassment or other types of harassment may not know where to turn and may be very reluctant to report. For this reason, it is often a good idea for a victim to seek the help of an experienced California employment and harassment attorney.