Sexual harassment is an issue that many of us might think we know and understand, but when it comes down to the details, most people don’t often realize how complex this topic truly is.
Although some may believe there’s one kind of sexual harassment that everyone should watch out for, the reality is more nuanced, involving varied degrees of severity and multiple patterns.
What law protects California workers from sexual harassment?
Employees are protected under state laws such as California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA prohibits sexual harassment in any form and provides additional protections for employees who are victims of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment may include any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or any other harassment of a sexual nature, whether it be physical or verbal. This includes, but is not limited to, offensive jokes of a sexual nature, unwanted touching or kissing, excessive flirting or compliments, and making suggestive comments about someone’s appearance. It also includes implied promises of work for sex or threats if someone does not comply with requests for sex.
It’s important to remember that even seemingly innocent comments or behavior can be considered sexual harassment if they make someone feel uncomfortable or threatened. For example, saying “You look good” may be intended as a compliment but could still be considered sexual harassment if it makes someone uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment is never acceptable. You have the right to be respected and treated with dignity in all aspects of your life, and no one should ever make you feel uncomfortable because of their words or actions. If you experience any form of sexual harassment, it is essential to report it immediately so that appropriate action can be taken against the perpetrator.