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Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment: Illegal

Workplace sexual harassment can be scary, uncomfortable, and confusing. If you are experiencing sexual harassment, you may be hesitant to confront your harasser or just want to pretend the ordeal is not happening. But if you ignore the harassment, then it could continue. Further, by ignoring the problem, you may lose opportunities to protect your legal rights. If you are suffering unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, and thinking about confronting your harasser, there are certain steps you can take to protect your legal rights.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • unwanted sexual advances;
  • requiring sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits;
  • retaliation;
  • suggestive sexual conduct, including: leering, gestures, or displaying sexual content;
  • derogatory or suggestive humor;
  • suggestive or sexual comments, whether spoken or written;
  • physical touching or impeding movement.

This list is not exhaustive—other unwanted sexual advances, suggestive conduct, or derogatory behavior not listed here, might also qualify as sexual harassment. And it does not matter if your harasser is the same gender as you; an employee can harass an employee of the same gender.

Confronting Your Harasser

If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, you may understandably want to avoid confrontation. But, confronting your harasser is generally in your best interest for two main reasons. First, confrontation would ideally cause the harasser to stop the offensive conduct. Second, if the harasser does not stop, then you could later use confrontation as proof that you did not welcome the harasser’s sexual advances.

If you feel comfortable, you could confront the harasser directly and ask him or her to stop the offensive behavior. You should not engage in a direct confrontation alone, but bring along a witness. If you choose to take this option, an experienced employment attorney can help guide you and prepare you for this interaction.

It is not at all uncommon, however, if you would rather not confront your harasser in person. In this case, you could object to the harassment in writing. Because written communication leaves a record, this option is, in some respects, preferable to direct confrontation. A written confrontation should be clear. It should define the offensive behavior, state your objection to it, and ask the harasser to stop engaging in the behavior.

Finally, you may ask an outside party to confront the harasser on your behalf.

Contact a California Employment Attorney

If your employer has retaliated against you for complaining about sexual harassment, then you would certainly have a claim for retaliation and may also have claims for sexual harassment. A knowledgeable employment attorney, like the attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside California have the experience you need to get justice. For a free case consultation call (949) 375-4734 today.

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