Having inappropriate sexual jokes, derogatory comments, innuendo, unwanted touching, and repeated or aggressive requests for sexual favors directed toward you on the job creates an extremely hostile workplace. Fortunately, California's Fair Employment and Housing Act—also known as FEHA—not only prohibits workplace sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, it also requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent such behavior, and correct it when it occurs.
It Is Imperative to Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
If you've experienced sexual harassment at work, it's important to report the harassment to your employer as soon as possible to give them the opportunity to take the necessary corrective action. The law requires employers to have a written anti-harassment policy in place; this policy should specify whom to approach with sexual harassment complaints. Depending on the structure of your company, this person may be your direct supervisor, a human resources manager, a diversity or equal employment opportunity coordinator, or a designated ombudsperson. In some cases, employees may be advised to direct their complaints to a company anti-harassment hotline.
Employers who understand their obligations under the FEHA often work to resolve sexual harassment complaints as quickly as possible. However, if the employer fails to put a stop to sexually inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, the victim can file a harassment complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Submitting this complaint to the DFEH is a prerequisite for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in California. While California legislators are considering extending the time to file a claim, as of the date of the post, the time limit for filing a claim is one year from the date of the last act.
When filing a complaint with the DFEH, you can request the immediate issuance of a “right to sue” notice or wait for them to issue the notice after thoroughly investigating your claims. Once you've received a right to sue notice, you have one year to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for workplace harassment.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney
If you've experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, the skilled attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you understand your legal rights and options for compensation. Contact us today at (909) 481-0100 or (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.