Sexual harassment is a multifaceted issue that can range from inappropriate gestures to inappropriate exposure. It is not abnormal for victims of sexual harassment to feel confused or angry or scared as a result of the harassment. It can make people uncomfortable at their place of work and turn an otherwise pleasant job into a daily nightmare. And while sexual harassment is often expected to be a male harassing a female, the pendulum does swing both ways.
A male cook of the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, California is set to receive $50,000 after filing a sexual harassment complaint. The cook claims that for over a year he was subjected to unwanted sexual advances, even taking leave days to avoid his harasser. He claims nothing was done to help the situation, despite multiple complaints. If the settlement is approved by a federal judge, the employee will be compensated financially for damages and he will also get back his leave days.
Sexual harassment of any kind is wrong, but public perception is such that males generally are not taken seriously in these instances. This case is a perfect example, as the employee’s complaints went unheeded for a long time. Men are just as susceptible to sexual harassment as women, even though the chances may be lower for men. Employees who face sexual harassment may not only suffer emotionally, but their job performance may worsen, making it as much a problem for the employer as it is for the employee.
It should be an employer's job to ensure that sexual harassment is stopped, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, as in this instance, an employee's claims are ignored. Sometimes the employer is the one doing the sexual harassing. If employees cannot count on their employers to protect them from sexual harassment, they can certainly count on the justice system.
If you are in California and feel that you have been victimized by your employer, a sexual harassment attorney may be able to help you stop further advances and obtain justice.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Corrections to pay $50,000 in sex harassment suit," April 16, 2014