Sexual harassment includes offensive behavior in various forms
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Sexual harassment includes offensive behavior in various forms

| May 13, 2021 | Employment Law

Sexual harassment is rampant in workplaces nationwide, including in California. However, not all workers understand that this type of harassment can take on many forms. It could even involve one person being sexually harassed by a colleague of the same gender. 

Examples of behavior that is prohibited 

Verbal conduct  

  • Making insults, jokes, slurs or other offensive comments with sexual undertones. 
  • Making graphic comments about another person’s body. 
  • Use of sexually demeaning words to describe another person. 

Visual conduct 

  • Making gestures or ogling in a sexual in manner. 
  • Presenting pictures, objects, posters cartoons, or links to content that is of a sexual nature. 

Physical conduct 

  • Assaulting or touching another worker.
  • Blocking or hindering the movements of a colleague.

Other methods used by harassers include seeking sexual favors by offering or promising employment benefits. Victims are often threatened with punitive action if their sexual advances are rejected or rebuffed. 

Employment law in California mandates that employers must provide training for prevention of sexual harassment. It must cover the legal definition of the term sexual harassment as defined by the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with case law and statutes that prevent and prohibit sexual harassment. 

The following are some but not all the aspects of sexual harassment to cover in training: 

  • Different types of behavior that could be sexual harassment 
  • Strategies for the prevention of such conduct 
  • Available remedies for victims of this type of harassment 
  • Practical examples of sexual harassment 
  • The obligation of supervisors to report harassment 

Employees in California who are victims should not endure sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, they should report it to supervisors or managers. If the issue is not addressed or resolved, employment law allows them to take legal action.