What to do if businesses fail to take sexual harassment measures at the workplace?

If you have been a victim of harassment at the workplace, you should know that you have the right to take action against your employer. Many employees have gone through such harassment at the workplace and they’ve even informed the higher authorities and the management, but haven’t got any response or action from the other end. Employees have the right to sue their employer under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. It’s quite obvious that no employee would want to work in such a toxic and hostile work environment and would end up resigning from their jobs. Employees can claim unemployment benefits for being a victim of sexual harassment which gave way to unemployment. However, if you have left the job voluntarily, you won’t get these benefits. Employees may or may not give a notice, but if you want to give a notice, check the 2 weeks notice letter example to stay on good terms with your employer. If you’re claiming for unemployment benefits and wondering how to write an appeal for unemployment decision, you can seek help from employment attorneys.

Therefore, businesses need to have provisions and safety protocols for the employees. Employers should provide training to the supervisors as well as the employees on workplace harassment. The California FEHA recommends the employees to take the following steps if they’ve been a victim of sexual harassment.

  1. Inform your employer that you were harassed

The first thing to do is to inform your employer that you’ve been victimized. But the point is that every business has its politics and managerial structure, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get support from the other end.

According to the employment regulations of California, every business should have anti-harassment policies that need to be informed to the employees through email or training. The policy should mention about the person to whom the complaint will be directed. For example, if your client or co-worker has harassed you, then you should inform your immediate supervisor. However, there should be other provisions for reporting against sexual harassment in case your immediate supervisor is the one harassing you.

It’s always a good idea to inform your employer about sexual harassment first. Most employers are aware of harassment law and FEHA and hence they will have provisions to protect their employees from such harassment. They might also take necessary action against the one involved in it.  Secondly, if your employer doesn’t respond to your complaints or doesn’t take the necessary action, you can file a lawsuit.  According to California labor laws, an employer cannot retaliate against the employees who report about workplace harassment. In that way, you shouldn’t prevent yourself from reporting against harassment for the fear of retaliation. You can take legal action against your employer for retaliation.

  1. File your complaint with the Californian Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

You can file a complaint against your employer with the DFEH within 3 years of an occurrence of harassment, in case the first option doesn’t work. This is usually done before filing a lawsuit. The DFEH will provide you notice on ‘right to sue’. Once you get this, you can immediately file a lawsuit against your employer for not taking precautionary measures or appropriate action for harassment.