AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

Your rights in case you are being sexually harassed (California)

If you are sexually harassed, have in mind that you have legal background that protects you. You have the right to:

1. Work in a safe and non-discriminatory environment.

The law requires your employer to provide a safe work environment that is not “hostile” to you based on your gender or gender identity.

2. Educate yourself on your company’s policy on sexual harassment, including reporting requirements, in a way that you can understand.

Your employer must have a written harassment policy and must ensure that all employees are aware of the policy and have a copy. The policy must be written in a language that employees understand.

3. Discussing or opposing sexual harassment, either you or someone else.

You can talk to anyone, including your co-workers or your manager, about sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. You also have the right to communicate (reasonably) to your employer that you believe that a company policy or practice perpetuates harassment or that a manager is engaging in harassment or discrimination. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate (punish) you for discussing harassment or discrimination with your co-workers.

4. Report the harassment to HR or your boss.

Report to HR, your boss, or someone else in your company in power. We strongly recommend reporting in writing (email or letter) and making copies for later proof if necessary. It is important to report the harassment internally first if yo want to take legal action later.

5. Picket or protest against sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination.

When you meet with one or more of your co-workers to raise concerns about your salary or working conditions, you are participating in a “concerted activity” protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

6. Have your complaint taken seriously and investigated.

Legally, your employer must take sexual harassment complaints seriously and investigate them. Once your employer becomes aware of sexual harassment, they are required by law to take swift action to stop it and adequately protect you or the person being harassed.

7. Ask your employer what happens and who knows if you file a complaint.

You may want to keep your complaint confidential, but keep in mind that an investigation generally involves the person who complained about the harassment and other employees who are interviewed as potential witnesses.

8. Report a complaint to a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state agency for fair employment, such as the California Department of Housing and Fair Employment (DFEH).

You also have the right to tell your employer that you want to make a complaint and that they cannot take revenge for it.

Note: There are strict deadlines for filing rates with government agencies known as “statutes of limitations.” The deadline to file with the EEOC is 180 or 300 days from the “last act of harassment,” depending on your state.

9. Suing your employer.

This is only an option if you have already filed a lawsuit with your state’s EEOC or FEPA (see # 8 above) and are given the “right to sue.” Please note that there are strict time limits on how many days after receiving this notice you must file a lawsuit in court.

10. Witnessing or participating in an EEOC or other government agency investigation.

Your employer cannot prevent you from presenting evidence, testifying at a hearing, or contacting a government agency investigating sexual harassment or other discrimination in your workplace. Even if the investigation finally shows that there was no harassment, your participation is still a protected right, i.

11. Do nothing.

Doing nothing about the sexual harassment or abuse you have experienced is a perfectly acceptable decision. It is 100% your decision whether or not to share your experiences.

If you are fired or punished (punished) for any of the above cases, it is illegal and you can take legal action. Retaliation may include layoffs or cuts, cuts to your pay, changes to your shifts, hours, benefits or duties, requests for time off, or any other act that negatively affects you.