Not sure whether your workplace treatment is sexually harassing?

Posted in Sexual Harassment on November 23, 2016

In words attributed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, the judge once famously stated in commenting on a case that, while he couldn’t formulate a precise definition for hard-core pornography, he knew it when he saw it.

In a sense, that same conviction holds true regarding sexual harassment. Although harassing behavior might not be manifestly evident to many employees in a workplace, it can be quite obvious when it is directed at you.

Conversely, individuals gainfully going about their work in California or elsewhere might not be sure whether another individual’s conduct — or, sometimes, group behavior — legally qualifies as sexual harassment. Something might seem offensive or otherwise off-putting, but does that make it taboo and legally objectionable?

We note that uncertainty on our website at Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, with our attorneys from offices across California having successfully represented legions of harassed workers throughout the state for years.

And we say this: trust your gut. And if you’re not sure, contact a proven legal advocate.

In fact, there is a clear demarcation between work behavior that is acceptable and conduct that crosses a legal line, and we often educate clients who come to us for help on the many types of conduct that indeed comprise sexually harassing behaviors.

Notably, sexual harassment that breeds a hostile work environment comes in myriad forms, and is far from being just confined to the realm of unwanted physical touching. Harassing behaviors also include verbal remarks, derogatory gestures and drawings, obscene communication, singular treatment based on gender or sexual orientation and many other things. Moreover, wrongful behavior is directed at both women and men.

If you have any questions or concerns about being targeted by inappropriate behavior, don’t suffer it alone and in silence.

Instead, contact an experienced attorney immediately. A harassment-free workplace should be the norm rather than the exception for every employee. There are strict state and federal laws against sexual harassment, and they come with teeth in the form of meaningful monetary recoveries.

A proven victims’ rights attorney can help an aggrieved worker invoke them and alter an untenable workplace environment.