When many people hear the term sexual harassment, they picture male superiors or co-workers abusing their power and making an uncomfortable work environment for female employees. Even though female complaints still make up the bulk of sexual harassment claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of filings by men has consistently increased over the past years. Unfortunately, men are still less likely to speak up about harassment than their female co-workers.
Uncomfortable Work Environment
There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Hostile work environment harassment is characterized by behavior that creates an offensive, threatening, or humiliating work environment. In offices dominated by women, female workers can create a hostile work environment for men by sending inappropriate e-mails or making uncomfortable jokes in the workplace.
Unlike hostile work environment harassment, quid pro quo harassment occurs when someone implies or explicitly demands sexual favors for some benefit, usually a pay increase or promotion. As a result, quid pro quo cases involve a person of power, such as a manager or supervisor, making these demands from a subordinate. With more and more females moving into positions of power, it is becoming more common for male employees to experience quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Fear of Speaking Up
Even though it’s difficult for any employee to speak up about sexual harassment, this is especially true of men. Many men choose to deal with the harassment by simply shrugging it off. Unfortunately, when some men do speak up, their female co-workers or supervisors don’t take the complaint seriously. If a man is the victim of sexual harassment, he should first confront the harasser and clearly state that he wants the behavior to stop.
If you’re managers or co-workers continue to create a hostile or uncomfortable work environment, you should speak with a sexual harassment lawyer. Since 1994, the Advocacy Center For Employment Law has specialized in areas of labor and employment law in the San Jose area. Call (408) 600-1972 to schedule a consultation.
Physical touching and hints of a promotion in exchange for sexual favors are a few examples of sexual harassment. While this type of directed harassment is more obvious, sexual harassment also refers to subtle behavior like dirty jokes, unwanted requests for a date, and the presence sexual images in the workplace. If management ignores a hostile work environment, an employee may have grounds for a sexual harassment claim.
Unfortunately, many employees don’t report sexual harassment because they fear losing their jobs. As this video explains, an employee should first confront the harasser or talk to the human resources department at the first sign of sexual harassment. If this request is ignored, then the employee should investigate legal remedies.
State and federal laws both ban workplace sexual harassment. If you’ve become the victim of unwanted sexual advances, contact the Advocacy Center For Employment Law of San Jose at (408) 600-1972.
As the most commonly recognized form of sexual harassment, quid pro quo sexual harassment involves situations in which an employee’s job status, benefits, or salary is contingent upon providing sexual favors to a superior. Not only does quid pro quo harassment violate labor law, but also it is often considered a criminal law matter. Victims of quid pro quo harassment can possibly collect compensatory damages, including medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and future economic losses.
If an employee files a quid pro quo sexual harassment suit, then it is the employer’s responsibility to prove that the harassment didn’t occur or that it occurred for non-discriminatory reasons. Employers can be held strictly liable for quid pro quo sexual harassment because supervisors and managers legally act directly on behalf of their employers. The most common examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment are when a superior offers a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual act or if rejection of sexual advances leads to a demotion or job loss.
To speak with a sexual harassment lawyer in San Jose, contact the Advocacy Center For Employment Law at (408) 600-1972. We provide personal, respectful representation to each of our clients.
During the recession, people across the country faced layoffs, reduced hours, and difficulty finding new work. However, layoffs disproportionately affect older workers, who find it more difficult to adjust to a new line of work and who employers might assume don’t need the job because they are closer to retirement age. Employers typically don’t cite age as a reason to layoff an older employee, but there are some subtle signs that someone has become the victim of age discrimination.
Comments made about an employee’s age are the most obvious signs of age discrimination. Some employers make comments about an employee’s age—probing him or her about retirement plans, stating that they would like the company to have a younger image, or assigning a nickname based on age. If an employer says anything along these lines, it’s crucial for the employee to document the comment, date, time, and place. In addition, the employee should write down any possible witnesses who overheard the comment.
A subtler sign of age discrimination is treating younger employees differently than older ones, under the same circumstances. For example, if the company states that they have to lay off workers for budgetary reasons, it’s important to note whether or not the layoffs applied equally to workers of all ages, especially if less-qualified, younger employees were kept on. Another sign of age discrimination is when an older employee is passed over for a promotion in favor of a younger, less-qualified employee.
If a boss gives the best sales leads, job assignments, or equipment to younger employees, this could be a sign of age discrimination. At the same time, employers may discriminate against older employees by excluding them from key meetings or office social events.
If you recognize any signs of age-based discrimination, don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with the Advocacy Center for Employment Law. We focus in areas of San Jose employment law, including sexual harassment and discrimination. You can reach our office by dialing (408) 600-1972.
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