Helping Clients Towards A Better Future

Through Integrity, Service, and Justice

Contact Our Firm

What To Do if You are Being Sexually Harassed in the Workplace 

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Sexual Harassment


What To Do if You are Being Sexually Harassed in the Workplace 


If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is crucial to understand your rights as an employee in California.  In California, sexual harassment is defined as severe or pervasive unwanted sexual advances or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile work environment.  Employers have a duty to create and maintain workplaces free from sexual harassment and are required by law to remedy any acts of sexual harassment.  Further, the California Code of Regulations (2 CCR § 11023) requires employers to have a sexual harassment policy made available to all employees.  If you are experiencing sexual harassment, you should review your employer’s sexual harassment policy and follow the appropriate procedures; the policy should outline the processes for reporting the incidents.


Your report of sexual harassment should be as detailed and complete as possible.  The most effective way to ensure a detailed complaint is to take notes after each incident of sexual harassment.  Try to include a timeline of events and a list of key players, including any possible witnesses to your harassment.  If you do not have a witness, it may be a good idea to confide in a trusted co-worker or colleague who can corroborate your story.  Do not delete any evidence relating to your complaint such as text messages, notes, and emails.  The evidence and documentation you collect will be useful in establishing your claim’s credibility.  You should also be cautious of what you post to your social media; your employer or future defendants will be able to access your posts and may attempt to discredit your claims.  


Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who submit complaints of sexual harassment.  If your employer does not remedy the sexual harassment and you are still subjected to a hostile work environment, or if you have been retaliated against as a result of your complaint, you may consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).  Filing with one agency automatically cross-files with the other, so you only need to submit one complaint.  California law requires employers to respond to and correct any reported incidents of sexual harassment, and their failure to do so may result in an employer’s liability to compensate their employee.  


You should be mindful of the time limits to make such claims: employees must file their complaints with CRD within three years of the last act of harassment or retaliation, or employees must file with the EEOC within 300 days.  You will also need a right-to-sue letter from CRD before you can file a lawsuit against your employer.  


If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, you can contact Makarem & Associates at (310) 312-0299 to speak with an experienced employment law attorney today.