Sexual harassment in the workplace is certainly nothing new. It has been going on for as long as there has been a workplace. However, there has been a recent slew of sexual harassment allegations against actors, comedians, journalists, and politicians in the news. One positive that has come out of this is that all of these reports of sexual harassment and abuse surfacing have employer both female and male alleged victims to have the courage to come and tell their stories. According to a recent news article from 89.3 KPCC, this increase in attention and the need to report sexual harassment has led more complaints being filed in the workplace.
This is actually a positive since it does not mean there has been an increase in incidents in sexual harassment as far as we know, but the alleged victims of this harassment are feeling empowered and are now able to speak out where they would not in the past do to fear of retaliation. As our Los Angeles sexual harassment employment attorneys can explain, not only is sexual harassment a potential violation of state and federal law, taking any retaliatory act in response to an employee making a valid complaint is also a violation of California labor laws. Just looking at local government jobs, the various agencies in Los Angeles employ around 110,000 workers. There have been around 27,000 complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace in the past six years, but since these many allegations have come out in the news, there have been over 3,000 reports made since late summer. This is a very significant increase in the number of sexual harassment reports made in the workplace in latter half of 2017, than there have been during any comparable time period in the past.
There numbers generally have been growing in recent years, but nowhere near the explosion we have seen in the number of reports since the first of these high profile case broke in the news. One important thing to note is that the increase is not employee driven. There are many reports being made by managers and supervisors than ever before. This means those in a position in power understand that it is very important to take all instances of sexual harassment seriously, and the worst thing they can do is try to minimize the reporting or pretend the incident did not happen. In the past, and still today, many supervisors will be quick to dismiss the complaints, or even act as if the accuser in the one of fault. Since blaming the victim is not only insensitive, but rather never appropriate, this is seen as a step in the right direction.
If an employer allows reports of sexual harassment to be summarily dismissed or diminished without conducting a proper investigation, they may be allowing further harassment to occur which can constitute facilitating a hostile work environment. While many are afraid to report sexual harassment on the job even to an employment lawyer, prospective clients should know that everything they say to their lawyer is strictly confidential and the lawyer cannot share the information without express permission from the client.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
LA County employee complaints rise in wake of attention to sexual harassment charges, November 17, 2017, By Mary Plummer, 89.6 KPCC
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