Both employer and manager can be held liable for manager harassment

Posted in Sexual Harassment on August 18, 2015

Because managers and supervisors are in a position of authority, sexual harassment on their part can be especially offensive and detrimental in the workplace. Employees who are victims of manager harassment are often unsure of where to turn and reluctant to take action for fear of losing their jobs. All employees in California should understand, though, that state and federal laws prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.

In fact, California law allows for employers to be held strictly liable if a supervisor or manager sexually harasses an employee. In other words, the company and the harasser can both be held accountable, even if the company was not aware of the harassment.

Sexual harassment can take many forms, all of which can create a hostile work environment. Sometimes, however, employees are unsure of whether their manager’s offensive behavior qualifies as sexual harassment.

If you have been victimized by any of the following types of behavior in the workplace, then you may have a provable claim of sexual harassment:

  • Offensive gestures
  • Offensive comments
  • Sexual comments or comments about someone’s body
  • Stalking behavior
  • Leering looks
  • Unwelcome touching or groping
  • Pornographic or derogatory emails, notes, pictures or posters
  • Discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or physical appearance

It is also important to know that an employer can still be held liable for sexual harassment even if a manager or supervisor did not directly engage in harassment. An employer can be held responsible if the manager created a hostile work environment that led to harassment from co-workers.

The sexual harassment attorneys of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, represent victims of sexual harassment throughout California. To learn more about these matters, please see our page on the Types of Sexual Harassment.