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Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace in California

California employees who are being sexually harassed at their place of work may not be sure how to respond. Many of them are concerned about how reporting harassment may impact their employment as well as their work environment, but taking certain steps can help ensure that this type of untoward, and in some cases unlawful, behavior stops.

The first thing that someone should do if they are being made uncomfortable by a co-worker, be it due to repeated requests for dates or inappropriate comments, is to create a written record of the events. Even if this is an email stating what has taken place, it can create a timeline of what has occurred.

If harassment is ongoing, the next step is to speak with someone that the employee trusts. It is not required that an individual report harassment to their supervisor or someone close to the person who is causing the problem. Many people choose to report the issue to their human resources department, and many companies have a system in place for handling these types of issues. It is important to note that someone who requests an investigation into harassment may have their employee records looked into since organizations are required to be impartial in these proceedings.

If someone is being subjected to offensive sexual comments at work and does not feel that their employer has responded appropriately, they have legal options. A lawyer may be able to assist an individual who is being harassed by looking into the circumstances surrounding the harassment as well as how the employer handled the investigation. Additionally, a lawyer could assist someone in filing a complaint against the employer.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "6 Things to Know About Workplace Sexual Harassment", Jada A. Graves, Feb. 12, 2015

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