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I’ve been sexually harassed at work. What should I do?

Employers have a duty to create and maintain a work environment that is devoid of all forms of harassment, including workplace harassment. Consequently, California and federal laws require employers to respond to any complaints of sexual harassment at work. 

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, you need to take steps to safeguard your rights. However, to do so and hold the liable party accountable, you should start by understanding what amounts to sexual harassment at work.

Identifying the signs of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment at work comes in multiple forms. Inappropriate behaviors that may amount to sexual harassment include:

  • Derogatory or suggestive remarks about your body
  • Sexually-themed jokes
  • Offers job-related favors in return for sexual relations
  • Threats of unspecified disciplinary actions should you turn down their sexual advances

What are your options?

Sexual harassment can have devastating impacts on the victim and the organization alike. If you are sexually harassed at work, it is important that you bring the matter to the attention of the relevant authorities. This could be your immediate supervisor of the Human Resource department or the appropriate department as outlined in your organization’s policy. 

If your employer does not take action following your report, you should consider filing a harassment report with the relevant authorities. 

Sexual harassment at work is unlawful and very traumatic for victims. Find out how you can pursue damages if you are a victim of sexual harassment at work.

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