Answers About Sexual Harassment
Anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual harassment knows that it can strip away your dignity. Unfortunately, it took no less than the Supreme Court of the United States to rule that sexual harassment is a form of job discrimination that should not be tolerated in the workplace.
At Hennig, Ruiz & Singh, in Los Angeles, our lawyers aggressively represent workers who have suffered the indignity of workplace sexual harassment. We are proud of our record of helping numerous clients recover significant monetary compensation — both as a way for the courts to punish the employer, and as a way to help the worker get a fresh start.
Because sexual harassment is often not as obvious as dirty office jokes, we think it will be helpful to answer some of the more common questions our attorneys hear when consulting with our clients. Every set of circumstances will be different, so please call us at to discuss your case with our office.
Q. A co-worker asked me out on a date. Is that harassment?
A. There is nothing that is per se illegal about a co-worker asking another employee out on a date. There are several factors that must be considered, such as:
- Your employment relationship, e.g., executive vice president asking a mailroom clerk
- Company policy regarding interpersonal communication of that nature
- Unwanted persistent contact with you prior to asking, or after asking
- The co-workers’ reaction to your response (assuming you said no)
- How your work environment may have been affected
Q. Is it sexual harassment if I hear jokes about being pregnant or going out on family leave again?
A. Yes, it is likely sexual harassment and it shouldn’t be allowed by your employer — but it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of taking legal action. Take notes and report the jokes and comments to your human resources department. If your employer fails to put a stop to it or retaliates against you for reporting (such as suddenly issuing you a layoff notice), you have a possible sexual harassment and/or wrongful termination claim.
Q. Is it harassment if my boss refers to me as sweetheart, honey or darling?
A. Maybe. Standing alone, this will probably not be enough, but you should ask him to stop and report it to your human resources department. If your boss retaliates, you possibly have a sexual harassment claim for damages.
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