In California, when sexual harassment is discussed, there is a preconceived notion that it is perpetrated by colleagues, bosses, and owners in the workplace. However, sexual harassment can be committed by others and is just as much a legal issue as when it occurs involving those with whom a person works. Customers can also commit these acts and violate employment law. People who are victimized by customers should realize there are options to address this problem.
Handling customer sexual harassment
Customer sexual harassment happens more often than many people realize. In some industries, workers must be friendly with customers as part of their job. This is especially true in the service industry. For example, wait staff generally relies on tips. For those whose salary is largely based on commission, it is also a narrow tightrope to walk as a negative interaction can cost a sale and reduce income. When this behavior occurs, workers should be cognizant of the available steps they can take.
The employer should be notified if customer sexual harassment is taking place and should find solutions to help the employee. These steps can include changing assignments, altering their schedules, or formulating another workable solution. Employers might balk and say there is little they can do about the situation, but a workplace is the responsibility of the employer. Some employees are unaware that they can complain about customer mistreatment because they have not been properly trained for it.
Consulting with experienced professionals can help with solutions
Sexual harassment can impact anyone in just about any circumstance. It is not only women who are targeted – harassment can happen to males and transgender people, too. There is likely to be confusion if it is a customer, not a coworker, who is behaving inappropriately. However, any form of sexual harassment remains a violation of employment law. After informing the employer, it may be wise to seek professional guidance to assess the case. It might be possible to file a claim regarding the behavior. Understanding the law is a key step toward putting a stop to it and potentially recovering compensation.