Despite laws and company policies that strictly prohibit harassment in the workplace, thousands of people experience some form of harassment at work every year. These violations deeply impact the target of the abuse, other people within the organization, and the business itself. People who are affected by harassment in the workplace should know their rights and contact harassment lawyers in San Francisco who can help hold perpetrators accountable.
Mistreatment and harmful behavior in the workplace are wrong, but it does not necessarily constitute “harassment” in a legal sense. In order for this behavior to rise to the legal standard of harassment, it must be based on a protected class of the target. Protected classes include a person’s:
Any mistreatment in the workplace based on these characteristics is harassment. The perpetrator does not have to explicitly call out one of these traits, as many forms of harassment are less explicit than direct comments about a person’s protected class.
When most people hear the term “workplace harassment,” sexual harassment is the first thing to come to mind. Sexual harassment is any form of harassment with any sex-related component. The perpetrator may choose victims based on any protected class, but the most common protect classes in these cases are gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
Some sexual harassment cases have a “quid pro quo” element to them. In these cases, a boss requests sexual favors in exchange for things such as:
In quid pro quo interactions, the abuser may also threaten to retaliate against the target if he or she does not give in to unwanted sexual advances.
Harassment does not have to have a sexual component in order to be unlawful and unethical. If a manager coworker creates a hostile work environment for any person based on a protected class, it can constitute harassment. Furthermore, employers may be liable for harassment if someone else (a customer, vendor, or contractor, for example) creates that hostile work environment and the organization fails to address the situation.
If you’re the target of workplace harassment, it can feel like you don’t have any good options. You may be led to believe that you either have to deal with the harassment or make a massive career change. However, this is not the case.
When you hire experienced harassment lawyers in San Francisco, such as Minnis & Smallets, you have more options. Contact us today to get legal advice on how to proceed, protect your rights, and hold the perpetrator accountable.
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