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Things You Didn’t Know About Sexual Harassment


When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, many people are quick to claim they have been victimized. On the other hand, there are those who may be victims of sexual harassment, that aren’t even aware they are being victimized.

This is all because when it comes to harassment in the workplace, there are things that many California employees aren’t even aware of.

Comments Are Enough

You do not have to be propositioned, insulted, or have sexual remarks directed at you, to be a victim of sexual harassment. Even just comments that are offensive or insulting about your sex or gender, even if they aren’t directed personally to you, may be enough to warrant a sexual harassment claim against your employer.

Certainly, an offhand comment or a tease or a single joke, often won’t be enough—but if the “joke” is offensive enough, or serious enough, it can be.

Nobody Can Harass You

You probably know that your employer cannot sexually harass you at work. But did you know that your employer can be liable to you for allowing you to be sexually harassed by co-workers—or even company customers? Yes, your employer needs to do what it can to take steps to make sure that you aren’t being harassed by anybody—not just supervisors or co-workers.

Same Sex Harassment

You can be a victim of sexual harassment whether you are male or female. But you can also be harassed by someone of the same sex—same sex harassment is still harassment.

Everybody Affected Can Bring a Claim

You don’t have to be the one harassed to make a sexual harassment claim. If Tom is sitting next to you and he is being harassed, and you are insulted or threatened, or made to feel uncomfortable because of him being harassed, both Tom, and you, may have a sexual harassment claim.

No Loss Needed

You do not have to have actual, financial loss, or be fired, to make a claim for sexual harassment. The insult, embarrassment, discomfort, and other aspects that come from being harassed, all are sufficient to justify a claim against an employer for sexual harassment.

Speak Up for Yourself

One aspect of harassment is that it must be “unwelcome.” This requires that you do or say something to indicate that whatever is happening to you, is not acceptable. You don’t have to tell the actual harasser—you can tell a supervisor, or whomever is designated to handle these complaints in the workplace. But you must indicate that you are not consenting to the harassment.

Worried about being punished because you are complaining about sexual harassment? Don’t be. It is illegal for an employer to punish you in any way, for making a complaint about unwanted sexual harassment or hostile sexual environments.  This would be considered retaliation.

Contact the San Jose employment lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today with questions about your rights as an employee in California.


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