California laws protect employees against workplace sexual harassment. This type of harassment can include inappropriate comments, unwanted sexual advances, and unwanted physical contact. The inappropriate comments and behavior can target the victim’s sex, gender, gender identity, and other personal characteristics. It is helpful to look at a few common examples of sexual harassment to understand this workplace offense.
A person guilty of touching someone sexually without permission commits one of the easiest to prove forms of sexual harassment. Courts view unwanted touching with more seriousness than inappropriate comments and jokes. A court is more likely to rule in favor of a plaintiff in a sexual harassment suit if unwanted physical contact is among the allegations.
Inappropriate sexual comments are probably the most common form of workplace sexual harassment. These comments are often derogatory and become a source of torment for the harassed worker. Women are the targets of these insults and slurs in many cases. Comments alone are enough to justify a sexual harassment claim. But these comments will need to be extreme to support a claim.
It is not that uncommon for a worker to receive an unwanted proposition in the workplace. It is worth noting that an employee asking another out on a date does not constitute harassment. But repeated requests or proposals of an overtly sexual nature may be enough to warrant a lawsuit.
Sexual harassment can also happen when an employer rewards an employee with whom they engage in a sexual relationship or punish one who rejected sexual advances. One incident of favoritism may not be enough for a sexual harassment claim. But an ongoing pattern of unequal treatment could cause problems.
Constant staring at a person in a sexually suggestive manner in the workplace can become enough in some cases to initiate a sexual harassment claim. These cases can become difficult to prove. But successful claims have been made based on constant staring at a worker’s breast or other body parts.
All workers deserve to perform their job duties in a workplace free from sexual harassment. Victims of this type of behavior may benefit from speaking with an attorney.