Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace | Mann & Elias

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Most employers understand the importance of treating people with dignity and respect in the workplace. They establish rules to prevent harassment and abuse of every kind and carry out training to reinforce these strictures. If you have been sexually harassed in your place of work, it may owe to the malfeasance of an individual or it may be the result of the failure of your employer to take such abuse seriously. You do not have to take this sort of treatment. If your employer has failed to act against sexual harassment, then you must act legally against your employer. This is best done with the help of our employment attorney in Los Angeles.

Understanding Sexual Harassment


The first thing to get straight is that sexual harassment is not about sex; it is about power. The person who continues to make unwanted advances toward you does not do so out of affection or a desire for intimacy; they do so out of a desire to control.

Sexual harassment consists of all conduct that is sexual in nature and that makes employees uncomfortable. This can include making sexually explicit jokes and hanging pictures or putting up screensavers that are sexually suggestive.

As an employee, you are protected by law from sexual harassment. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is the main federal law that prohibits sexual harassment. State law also protects you from such treatment.

How to Prevent Sexual Harassment


It is not your sole responsibility to prevent sexual harassment. You should not be forced to wear certain clothes, to stay away from certain people, or to change your way of walking and talking to remain safe. You should have the freedom to work as everyone else in the office works without the threat of unwanted advances. You should not have to avert your eyes to avoid offensive images. You should not tremble in the corridors of your office in anticipation of lewd and suggestive comments. In short, you should not be forced to walk into a hostile work environment every day.

It is the responsibility of the leadership and management team to prevent sexual harassment. They should adopt a clear sexual harassment policy that must:

  • Define sexual harassment
  • State clearly an intolerance for sexual harassment
  • Spell out the consequences for those who violate this policy
  • Establish clear procedures for filing a sexual harassment complaint
  • Pledge that all such complaints will be thoroughly investigated
  • State that retaliation against complainants will not be tolerated

Your company should also carry out training on sexual harassment. Most people have very confused ideas about what constitutes inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Your company should put each new employee through a rigorous course of training, and it should conduct refresher training courses for all staff at least once a year.

Managers and supervisors are on the frontlines of sexual harassment prevention and response. They should receive training that is separate from the employee sessions. The training sessions should instruct them on how to deal with complaints and how to enforce policy.

Why is Reporting Sexual Harassment So Difficult


If you have been made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace and you believe a quiet word to the offender will resolve the situation, then you should proceed. It is best to handle interpersonal conflict at the lowest possible level. However, you should not feel obliged to do so. If you do not feel comfortable dealing with the matter on your own, or you are facing an entire group of your co-workers who engage in this sort of behavior, then you should take the matter to your supervisor.

This will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. You may think to yourself that you did not join the company to be a troublemaker. You want to be respected for your knowledge, skill, and expertise. You just want to get on with your job and let others get on with theirs.

The problem is that you will not be able to function as you should in a hostile work environment. No one is safe in workplace in which sexual harassment is allowed to thrive. If you are to be left alone to do your work, you must report sexual harassment.

When the Company Fails You


It is reasonable to expect that the company will take your complaint seriously and investigate it. If this does not happen, if your complaint is ignored or you are pressured into dropping it, then you must seek help elsewhere.

When the company fails you, you can turn to a Los Angeles workplace attorney for help. A sexual harassment lawyer in Los Angeles will sit down with and listen to your story. They will ask you to recall details about the incidents that you have had to deal with and how the company responded to them.

The job of a workplace sexual harassment lawyer is to get you justice. What that looks like will be determined largely by you. The sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles will help you determine specific demands, which can include compensation for emotional pain and suffering, reinstatement if your were fired, the termination of the person who harassed you, and a change in sexual harassment policy and enforcement mechanisms in the company. You will then need to leave all communication and negotiation with the company to your Los Angeles workplace harassment attorney.

If you were the victim of a sexual assault, then you should retain counsel with experience in this area. A lawyer for sexual assault in the workplace will know how to deal with both the criminal investigation that will need to take place and the civil suit that you can pursue. An attorney for sexual assault in the workplace will ensure that the police take you seriously.

In most instances, the matter can be settled without going to trial. No company wants the inevitably bad publicity that comes with a sexual harassment trial. This fact will put your Los Angeles work harassment compensation attorney in a position to demand a settlement that is commensurate with all that you have endured.

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