Sexual harassment is harassment of a sexual nature that happens when a business relationship (such as landlord-tenant), a service relationship (such as doctor-patient), or a professional relationship (such as co-workers) exists between the harasser and the victim. Sexual harassment can include things like unwanted sexual advances, solicitations, demands or requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment is not limited to harassment across gender lines; there can also be same-sexual harassment as well. And while the media commonly portrays sexual harassment as experienced by women, men can also be victims of sexual harassment.
In order for conduct to be considered sexual harassment, a few criteria must be met in addition to the existence of the requisite relationship between the harasser and the victim, namely:
- The victim must request that the behavior or harassment be stopped. Immediately after the harassing conduct occurs, the victim must ask the harasser to stop. Effectively, in order for sexual harassment to be illegal the harasser has to be placed on notice, or warned, by the victim that the conduct is unwanted.
- The victim must not be able to leave the situation easily without tangible hardship. Examples of this might include a lawyer making sexual requests from a client as the clients case is going to trial, a boss making repeated sexual solicitations of an employee, or a dentist harassing a patient immediately before commencing oral surgery on the victim/patient. In not one of these scenarios would it be easy for the victim to leave the situation. The lawyer’s client is in the midst of litigation, the employee could lose his or her job, and the dental patient is about to have surgery.
Sexual Harassment at Work
Sexual harassment can also happen in the workplace and generally takes two main forms. For instance, any conditions that make a workplace a hostile environment for a person of either gender is considered sexual harassment, as is conditioning employment on conduct that constitutes sexual harassment, such as unwanted touching or advances or favors of a sexual nature in exchange for a job, promotion or retention.
When sexual harassment happens at work, the employer can be held responsible for the actions of its employees, supervisors and managers, and need not be aware that the sexual harassment was occurring. Employment discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of color, race, religion, sex or national origin.
Contacting a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If another person has sexually harassed you, even if the harassment occurred while you were at work, you are a victim and should seek the counsel of a sexual harassment lawyer serving the Los Angeles area. No one should be subjected to unwanted sexual advances and pressures. Contact the sexual harassment lawyers at the Law Offices of Kenechi R. Agu for immediate consultation concerning your sexual harassment case.