In earlier decades, it was difficult for workers to speak up about sexual assault in the workplace. Women, for example, would be viewed as “asking for it” if they dressed themselves up to look pretty or professional at work. Men, who were also victims when there was a female boss, for example, may have felt ashamed to admit that the boss had made sexual advances to them which were unwanted. Sexual assault also occurs with same-sex workers as well.
Sexual assault and/or harassment can happen anywhere at any time, but more often, when there is no one else around to witness the event. It is particularly difficult when the event happens at work and keeping silent seems the best course of action because of fear of losing one’s job. Yet, you must become strong enough to fight against sexual harassments and threats of losing one’s job.
How to Help Yourself Against Sexual Harassment and Assault in the Workplace
Your first step is to find out what guidelines your employer has for reporting sexual harassment. Begin keeping a small notebook available where you can make notes about any events that seem overly friendly, beyond just being a nice person. If the person becomes overly friendly and you are not interested, tell the person that you are not interested as you prefer to keep people at your job as part of the workplace only.
If the person persists with annoying advances, speak to a supervisor that you trust and ask what you can do and who to speak to next. Such occurrences can make working very difficult, particularly if the person feels rejected by you and decides to retaliate against you. This kind of situation can escalate out of hand, making you look like the person who started the whole situation, rather than the other employee. That is why you should try to stop the other person as soon as possible so you do not end up looking as though you are the instigator.
California’s Civil Rights Agency
You can also file a complaint if no one at the company where you work, is willing to do anything about the situation. Take steps to get evidence such as who may have been around who would have seen and heard what the other employee (or employer) did and could be a witness.
You cannot record phone calls in California as it is one of 11 states that require the consent of every party to a phone call for it to be recorded. California Penal Code § 632 covers all recordings under this Invasion of Privacy code. The only way any recordings could be made is if there is an official investigation and a judge approves a wiretap with certain limitations.
Never Give Out Personal Information
Only your boss and the human resource department at work will have a right to your personal information. Therefore, it can also be problematic if your boss is the one causing trouble for you unless there is someone else higher than the boss. You may need to think about working somewhere else if that is the case.
If you have been charged with sexual assault or harassment in the workplace, call us at once for a consultation. 619-234-2300