Employees who are sexually harassed by co-workers or supervisors might assume that their employers in Los Angeles and Long Beach will want to know about the inappropriate and illegal behavior as quickly as possible so that employers can address the problem before it gets worse. Employers have a legal obligation to try to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace, and California employers also have a legal obligation to address workers’ complaints and effectively resolve complaints.

Unfortunately, employers do not always follow through with their legal obligations. This may result in a hostile work environment that may leave some workers feeling helpless. What can employees do when their employers refuse to investigate their complaints of sexual harassment? Is there anyone else workers can turn to when their employers allow harassment to continue in the workplace?

Recently, three women who used to work for CMEA Capital in San Francisco decided to file a lawsuit against the venture capital firm and a former manager. The former employees’ complaints of sexual harassment went ignored for too long, and now they want to make sure CMEA is held accountable for allowing the women to be harassed by a former chief operating officer. By taking legal action, they hope to finally put an end to the firm’s disrespectful and unlawful practices.

The three former employees claim that they were all harassed by a male manager. They claim that the former chief operating officer made sexual comments in the workplace on several occasions and called the women offensive names. On several occasions, the women claim that another manager heard the comments but ignored the problem. After reporting the inappropriate behavior, the women claim that they were retaliated against. The former employees claim that their overtime hours were cut, which affected their incomes.

All three women have since resigned. Even though the lawsuit states specific examples of how and when the women were sexually harassed, CMEA claims that it did not violate the former employees’ rights in any way.

Source: Forbes, “CMEA Capital sued for sexual harassment,” Tomio Geron, March 8, 2013