When people hear of sexual harassment, they usually envision an employer or other person in a position of authority harassing a worker or someone the harasser is supervising. Of course, this does constitute one of the most commonplace forms of sexual harassment that occur. With that duly noted, a consistent problem exists in California and elsewhere across the United States involving sexual harassment perpetrated by customers against staff in a retail setting.
Legal standard to protect workers against customer sexual harassment
A specific legal standard has been established in California applicable to the sexual harassment of workers or employees by customers. A California business has the legal duty to keep its workers reasonably safe or protected from sexual harassment perpetrated by customers, clients or other types of patrons.
Right of employees to lodge complaints to management
In California, employees have a legal right to lodge a complaint with business management regarding sexual harassment by customers, clients or patrons. Workers must have the same opportunity to lodge a complaint regarding sexual harassment by customers as exists in the event of sexual harassment by a fellow employee or supervisor.
Employer’s duty to take action
If a business becomes aware that an employee has been subjected to sexual harassment by a customer, a business must take reasonable steps to prevent that type of conduct going forward in the future. Even if this might result in losing a customer or customers, has a duty to protect its workers against this type of behavior.
A person who is the victim of sexual harassment by a customer has important legal rights to assert and protect. Retaining a seasoned employment law attorney is an advisable course to take.