Employees facing sexual harassment should know their rights

Frank S. Clowney III

Employees have certain rights when they’re at work, which includes the right to be safe from discrimination and harassment. In light of the #MeToo movement, numerous employees from a variety of industries have come forward, telling horror stories of being sexually mistreated by superiors or other colleagues.

While discussing and reporting such misconduct is now more common, those who witness or experience it may not know what options and solutions are available.

Reporting misconduct

If an employee feels comfortable doing so, they can tell their harasser to stop their behavior. However, if they are afraid to confront their harassers directly, they should see if their employer has an anti-harassment policy. If they don’t, they can discuss the issue with their supervisor.

Legal remedies for harassment

If employees have to take matters to court, this is what they can potentially receive:

  • Reinstatement: The employee can get their job back if they were terminated for reporting mistreatment.
  • Back pay: Fired employees can also receive payments from their workplace if they win their case. It should be noted that the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases in California is 10 years.
  • Employer training or policy requirements: An employer may be required to update or implement policies regarding sexual misconduct if the employee wins the lawsuit. By January of 2021, California employers who have five or more employees will be required to provide at least two hours of educational training to workers regarding sexual misconduct.

Victims deserve to have a voice

Confronting workplace harassment can be complicated. Victims may fear coming forward while employers often have a strong legal defense on their side. Luckily, an experienced employment law attorney in California can help survivors understand their rights, take their case to court and get them the compensation they deserve.