Sexual harassment has been banned in the workplace for decades now. It is clear that the modern workplace must be free from it, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the modern workplace is changing in ways that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. Working remotely was a necessity created by the pandemic. Now, many employers are recognizing the benefits of a remote workforce and making these changes permanent. Yet, it is still possible to experience sexual harassment as a remote employee.
California employers still have a legal obligation to remedy sexual harassment in a remote workplace. Learn more about how the sexual harassment lawyers at Olivier & Schreiber can help you protect your legal right to be free from sexual harassment in any type of workplace.
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination in the workplace. This is because sexual harassment actually changes the terms and conditions of your employment based on your gender. In general, sexual harassment is identified in two broad categories. The first is quid pro quo. This type of harassment occurs when someone in a position of authority over you requests sexual favors. The favors could be in exchange for preferential treatment or simply in exchange for keeping your job. Either behavior is prohibited.
The other broad category of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is created by unwanted comments, gestures, or touching of a sexual nature. The behavior must be objectively offensive to the reasonable person. This usually requires a persistent pattern of offensive conduct, so an isolated incident will usually not qualify, although in rare cases, this is possible.
Under these definitions, it is still possible for sexual harassment to occur in a remote working environment. Consider quid pro quo. A supervisor can request sexual favors over email, or text messaging, or even over web conferencing. The exchange does not have to occur in person to be unlawful. Similarly, you can be subjected to a hostile work environment over the phone or internet. Obviously, unwanted touching and physical contact can only occur in person. But offensive comments and gestures can all be made remotely. Whether these actions occur via email, telephone, text message, or web conference, they are unlawful.
Employers are liable for the harm their employees suffer due to unchecked sexual harassment. If an employer is found liable, you are entitled to compensation for any lost wages and medical bills (including counseling) that were made necessary because of the harassment. Our lawyers can help you identify all the compensation you are owed for your unique situation.
Though the modern American workplace is changing, sexual harassment law is not. California employees have the right to be free from sexual harassment in remote workplaces. The experienced sexual harassment lawyers at Olivier & Schreiber can help you enforce your legal rights to make the workplace safer for everyone who works there. Call (415) 484-0980 or visit our website to schedule your consultation.
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