Since early October 2017, when first revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct made the national headlines, America finally realized that we are dealing with a sexual harassment epidemic of some sort.
Something that had been veiled and normalized for decades has become an abomination. For those who have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace at least once, the issue of being harassed on the basis of sex is not something new or extraordinary.
Those who ignored or were not aware of the issue of sexual harassment at work started learning more about it. And then there were those who are being accused of sexually harassing their employees or subordinates in the workplace.
False accusations and assumptions about sex crimes
Unfortunately, despite a year-long nationwide battle against sexual harassment, many people are still not fully aware of what really constitutes harassment on the basis of sex and what is considered sexual misconduct in the workplace. This, in turn, results in people making a false assumption, or worse, making false allegations or accusing someone of a sex crime, all of which can ruin the alleged harasser’s career, reputation, and social life.
Given that sexual harassment still remains poorly understood, we decided to invite our sex crime defense attorney in Los Angeles from Okabe & Haushalter to outline everything you need to know about sexual harassment at work.
Everything you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace
First and foremost, the legal definition of sexual harassment in California is much wider than you think. There is a common misconception that unwanted sexual advances, derogatory and sexualized comments and remarks, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, and inappropriate touching are the only forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, but this is not entirely true.
What many do not realize is that any discriminatory action based on gender can also be considered sexual harassment, even though it can be easily mistaken with gender discrimination.
Each company in California is legally required to have a set policy in place informing its employees of their options and procedures when it comes to reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.
If hundreds of sex crime cases Los Angeles are any indication, an isolated incident of sexual harassment is usually not enough to file a lawsuit against the alleged harasser. As a rule of thumb, it is unlikely that you win a sexual harassment case after just one isolated incident, though it is important to document and address each incident separately when filing a claim.
You cannot expect to win a sexual harassment lawsuit if the alleged harasser has witnesses that you provoked or initiated the alleged act of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Unless your particular claim of sexual harassment at work is severe and extreme, the harasser will most likely not be terminated even if you prove your allegations. However, the employer does have a duty to take extra precautions to prevent this particular harasser from sexually harassing you or other employees.
If a sexual harassment claim has been elevated to a criminal sexual assault or harassment case, the defendant may be able to prove that he or she was in a different place at the time the alleged crime took place by providing an alibi supported with credible evidence.
These are some of the many things you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace. And keep in mind that if you are being accused of sexual harassment or sex crime in California, you will most certainly benefit from hiring a Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney from Okabe & Haushalter. Get a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799.