When a Los Angeles employee gets sexually harassed, he or she may not want to talk about it at all, even before a judge or with his or her attorney. Sexual harassment is in almost all cases a very embarrassing thing to happen to someone, and it may mean rehashing some emotionally traumatic events that are also almost by definition lewd and degrading.
However, in order to establish that sexual harassment has occurred due to a hostile work environment and to hold one's employer accountable for that harassment in court, an employee must generally avail himself or herself of the employer's internal procedures in place to prevent sexual harassment, assuming of course that such procedures exist.
The reason for this rule is that the law does not require an employer to proactively stop all incidents of sexual harassment or offensive conduct, even though the employer has the duty to ensure that employees do not have to work in a hostile environment.
All an employer has to do is have in place a reasonable procedure for correcting sexual harassment or other inappropriate sexual conduct when it happens in the workplace. As long as the employer promptly follows through on these procedures when an incident occurs, the employer is unlikely to be found liable for creating or tolerating a hostile work environment.
Usually, these internal procedures are going to require a victim to report sexual harassment due to a hostile work environment internally, perhaps even to upper management or other people with a lot of power in their company. Although this is likely scary, an employee cannot be punished for making a good faith report, even if it turns out what seemed like sexual harassment was really a misunderstanding or some other innocuous circumstance.
It is also important that does rule does not apply in more flagrant cases of sexual harassment, such as when an employee does not get promoted or gets punished because he or she would not accept the advances of a supervisor.
For those who are victims of sexual harassment, an experienced California employment law attorney can be of assistance even in making the initial internal report of an incident.