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Bay Area restaurant get creative fighting sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace used to be a matter of course for thousands of female employees in earlier eras for American industry. Although it is no longer acceptable to treat women differently or deny any protected employee a fair share of work and compensation, instances of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior still happen.

One of the longest running and most important debates about sexual harassment is identifying it. Some believe that the intent of the speaker or actor is vital, while others claim only the effect felt by the victim is important.

An Oakland restaurant got creative about finding "the line" between amiable behavior and sexual harassment. A series of poor interactions with customers inspired a color chart for identifying and following up on inappropriate behavior.

"Yellow is just where someone gets a creepy vibe. Nothing has happened. An orange is where they've said something that's a little bit borderline -- like it could be sexual harassment, it could not be. Like, ‘Hey I love your shirt.' Right? It could sort of go either way," according to the co-founder of the California eatery.

"Code red" events involve overtly sexual unwanted contact, such as inappropriate touching or a comment about a person's sexuality. The staff have predetermined responses for all three types of interactions, and initial responses include a feeling of empowerment with the knowledge instances will be addressed.

Victims of sexual harassment in workplaces, public life and services may have a case for financial damages and other recourse to rectify and stop unacceptable behavior. An attorney may help victims identify the responsible parties and file a case properly.

Source: ABC News, "This California restaurant uses a color-coded system to help their staff combat sexual harassment," Alexa Valiente, April 19, 2018

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