Sexual harassment is a serious issue in California that can create an offensive or hostile work environment for those subjected to it. Unfortunately, those being harassed may be unaware they can be protected from such conduct or may be unsure as to whether the conduct they are subjected to constitutes sexual harassment.
Discriminatory acts may not be conducted by an employer against those that are considered members of a protected class. There are many classes that are protected by law including age, religion, gender and race, among others. An employer that has implemented policies or committed any acts that infringe upon the protections afforded to those in a protected class may face a legal claim from those that are negatively impacted.
Employment discrimination can occur during the application and interview process, while an individual is employed or when an employee is terminated. Discrimination may have occurred if someone is not hired when he or she would otherwise be qualified, other than the individual's status in a protected class, if an employee is exposed to a hostile work environment or if he or she is demoted or terminated on the basis of a protected status.
Employees who have been harassed or discriminated against in the workplace may face additional negative treatment if they elect to report such actions. Regardless of the specific action, if it is taken as a result of an employee's good faith report of unlawful activity, it is retaliation against the employee. Employees who are the subject of employer retaliation are those who have made an internal complaint, a complaint to a governmental entity or filed a legal action against the company.
One of the more significant issues that arise in the workplace in California is the occurrence of sexual harassment. Such harassment can have a long-term negative impact on both the victim and the accused. In order to prevent sexual harassment in the office, it is important for employees to know what constitutes sexual harassment, as opposed to questionable behavior. However, this distinction is at times difficult to make without the appropriate training and education.
All employees have certain rights granted to them regarding safety and fair treatment in the workplace. Any individual or organization that attempts to violate these rights or otherwise create a hostile work environment may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. One of the rights afforded to all employees is protection from unwelcome sexual advances or conduct that impacts a victim's performance or creates an offensive or frightening workplace, which is otherwise known as sexual harassment.
Southern California is replete with military installments and various government offices that are designed and strategically placed to keep Americans safe. Whether they are working against threats that are either foreign or domestic, American military personnel are expected to conduct themselves with the highest levels of appropriate behavior during their active duty and civilian lives. However, not even an organization as highly controlled and steeped in personal accountability as the military is able to rid itself of damaging incidents of sexual harassment.
As an employee, you are guaranteed certain rights that extend to you regardless of your role in the workplace. What are these rights? Businesses are not exempt from regulations and laws that dictate how they do business. Sometimes, businesses do not use correct and lawful practices. If an employee witnesses such unlawful behavior, an employee has the right to report it without threat of retaliation by the employer.
Most say the greatest characteristic about the American people is our diversity -- our ability to be so different and yet so united. Most believe our differences make us stronger. However, there are still instances of religious discrimination in the workplace as seen in California's most recent report as listed in the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
A person's work environment should be a safe and comfortable place for everyone. This includes people who have become victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not just unwanted physical advances. It is much more than that. There are two types of sexual harassment that could possibly be proven and penalized in California.