We talk often about how California law protects employees from sexual harassment, but it is important to remember that not all responsibility to handle the harassment lies with the victim. While victims of sexual harassment can lodge a complaint and even file a lawsuit to be compensated for their suffering, employers also have a legal responsibility to combat sexual harassment. If an employer fails to perform any of these duties, especially if sexual harassment has been alleged by an employee, then that employer may also be liable.
A comprehensive list of the steps employers must take against sexual harassment can be found in this article. Employers must make a reasonable effort to prevent harassment; if they become aware of sexual harassment that has occurred, they must take corrective action. Employers are also required to implement a prevention policy which outlines the procedures that employees and employers must follow, including making and investigating complaints. Speaking of investigation, employers must conduct a thorough investigation into a harassment complaint if one is brought up.
It may surprise you to learn that employers must also take corrective action against non-employees who sexually harass the employer’s workers. With some exceptions, if an employer knows that an employee has been sexually harassed by a client or customer, then the employer could be held liable for not attempting to correct the issue. It is important to remember that if an employer did not know about the harassment, or if they took action as soon as they learned of the harassment, then they likely cannot be held liable.
If you have suffered sexual harassment at work, you are likely feeling scared or uncomfortable. This could affect your ability to perform the functions of your job and could escalate into even worse suffering if left unchecked. Remember that the law is on your side. If you have suffered sexual harassment at work, consider meeting with an attorney who can help you with a lawsuit that might end your harassment.