Sexual Harassment Involving Co-workers Poses Problems Companywide
By Gregory Thyberg on October 29, 2017
Sexual harassment at the workplace is against the law. The most well known type of harassment is between supervisors and employees, but can occur between co-workers as well. Sexual harassment involving co-workers might be between workers of the same or opposite sex, and in either case should be handled immediately and effectively.
Sexual harassment among co-workers can lead to a hostile work environment. Attorney Gregory Thyberg at Thyberg Law can help victims of sexual harassment involving co-workers in the Sacramento, CA area.
Categories of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment at work can be classified into one of two categories:
- Quid Pro Quo: In a quid pro quo case, a supervisor or other person with authority conditionalizes employment on sexual favors or by requiring an employee to submit to an unwanted sexual advance. A quid pro quo case can also involve denial of a promotion, bonus, or salary increase for failure to perform a sexual act.
- Hostile Work Environment: In a hostile work environment situation, the worker is repeatedly subjected to unwanted advances or comments. Over a period of time, these behaviors make it such that the simple act of coming to work is unbearable for the employee.
Both of these types of sexual harassment have far reaching effects. Not only is the injured worker affected emotionally and sometimes physically, but the entire company can suffer when sexual harassment goes unchecked. Instances of sexual harassment are often the topic of office gossip, and can cause damage to the reputation of the worker involved, as well as the company. This can make it difficult to move on professionally after an incident of harassment, or cause loss of income.
Who Is Responsible for Sexual Harassment Claims?
Employers bear the responsibility of providing their employees with a safe work environment. When that duty is breached, the employer is responsible for the damages suffered. This includes not only actual safety features, such as the absence of physical hazards, uneven flooring, or a leaky ceiling, but also an environment free from harassment.
Sexual harassment should be reported, and the employee not discriminated against for making the report. If your employer does nothing when an instance of harassment is reported, the employer is on the hook for any damages you suffer as a result.
What to Do if You Are Sexually Harassed at Work
Just like you would report a physical injury suffered on the job, you need to report any unwanted sexual advances that take place while at work, or any offer of an incentive in exchange for a sexual act. It is critical to report these matters right away to your HR Department, and ask that the incident be documented pursuant to any company policy addressing the topic. Keeping a paper trail of your reports helps to establish a pattern, and is key evidence in a case against your employer for sexual harassment. With the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney, your claim will be fully pursued.
Who to Call for Help
If you have been sexually harassed at work, Thyberg Law can help. Our focus is on restoring the balance in the workplace by helping workers who have experienced harassment on the job. For more information, contact us online or call (916) 204-9173.