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Redondo Beach California Employment Law Blog

Reasons people neglect to report harassment

Sexual harassment is very common in the workplace. Some studies have said that it happens to 30% of women; it can also happen to men.

Despite how common it is, the issue often flies under the radar. One reason for this is that people just do not report it when it happens. When they know it's wrong, why would they neglect to file a report?

Start with 5 questions if you think you've been wrongfully fired

Did you recently lose your job, and do you think you were wrongfully terminated? Your first reaction is likely frustration or anger -- or both. Losing a job is hard enough on its own. Losing it unfairly just makes it worse.

Don't despair; there are steps you can take if it really is a wrongful termination. You do have rights. To get started, try asking yourself these five questions:

  1. What happened before the termination? For instance, if your boss made sexual advances, you rejected them and then you got fired, that's a problematic chain of events.
  2. Do you have any specific evidence? You want to know if this is more than a gut feeling. Maybe you have text messages showing the inappropriate comments or a direct statement from your boss, for instance.
  3. Are there any witnesses? Maybe your boss made their interest in you clear or even made jokes about it to other employees. Maybe you showed co-workers inappropriate text messages or email messages.
  4. Were you the only one? Unfortunately, in many cases like this, multiple people experience the same treatment. While no one deserves it, a pattern of behavior can support your case.
  5. Did you work in a hostile workplace before the termination? If you were subjected to repeated instances of discrimination, abuse, harassment and the like, that can create a hostile workplace. This is evidence of how you were treated and why you may have been fired.

Technology jobs see high rates of gender discrimination

If you work in a STEM job (science, technology, engineering and math), odds are good that you have seen discrimination at work. Maybe it's happened to you. Maybe it's happened to a co-worker while you were around. Unfortunately, it is very common, especially gender discrimination and sexual discrimination.

In fact, some reports claim that about 50% of women working in these professions have experienced some form of gender discrimination. It does happen to men as well, but only about 19% of them reported it. This clearly shows that there is a substantial gap in the way that men and women experience discrimination and the type of treatment that they get at work.

Are things different after the #metoo movement?

The Me Too movement (#metoo) certainly brought a lot of attention to sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. Things that were going on behind the scenes suddenly came to light. People took a stand when they hadn't before. We saw people who had committed these harassing acts retire, apologize, get fired, quit and suffer from all sorts of other ramifications.

But now, in 2019, we're roughly two years past the start of the movement. Did it change anything dramatically? Is life for the American worker different now?

Workers should be careful when telling jokes

Telling jokes in the workplace is not inherently a bad thing. It can help you bond with other employees. It can relieve stress and tension. It can help people get to know one another. If you're a new employee, it can allow you to make a statement and show your unique personality.

All that being said, there is a risk here. Some jokes are fairly offensive. Not everyone has the same exact standards regarding what is or is not offensive. Workers need to be very careful. Someone may think that a specific joke is not offensive, but you may find it hurtful or insulting. In some cases, repeated joking can even create a hostile environment and constitute workplace harassment, especially if the worker who is offended asks for the behavior to stop.

What if your boss asks you to go on a date?

Office romances are common, to some degree because the office is simply the place where people socialize the most. In the same way that you once met people to date in classes in high school or at college, you may find yourself striking up relationships with people at work.

This is not always a great situation, though, and some companies even have policies to prevent it. They note that there can be a lot of negative consequences, such as:

  • Experiencing jealousy from other workers
  • Having other workers think you get preferential treatment
  • Negative consequences when the relationship doesn't work out
  • Possible ethical violations

Educational requirements and intent

When setting educational requirements for a job, it's important for the requirements to be relevant to the job at hand. There has to be a reason for the employer to set that standard. This is to keep employers from discriminating based on educational levels.

One important thing to consider when deciding if the requirements are legal or not is the intent. In some cases, employers may set standards in an effort to make it impossible for certain groups of people to apply for the positions. This allows them to discriminate against those groups without expressly saying that's what they're doing.

Gender discrimination is more common when women are a minority

Look at your current workplace. Do you feel like there are more men than women?

If so, it is very important to note that women in these workplaces, which are dominated by male workers, reported more instances of gender discrimination than women in workplaces where the breakdown was more equal between male and female workers.

When does someone have a valid wrongful termination case?

If you've been terminated from your job, it's natural to turn your immediate focus to finding a new position. While this is important, you should also focus on the details surrounding your termination.

A wrongful termination is any firing that results in your employer violating local, state and/or federal laws.

4 things people do other than report harassment

When people face sexual harassment in the workplace, they often do not come forward and report it. In some cases, even if they do, they wait for years to do so. It's important to understand why this happens and what they may do instead.

Researchers claim that four things they do other than reporting the behavior are:

  • Denying that the harassment happened or attempting to downplay the seriousness of the issue
  • Attempting to avoid the person who harassed them, in hopes that it will end
  • Tying to endure the harassment without putting an end to it
  • Trying to forget about the harassment or just attempting to ignore that it is happening

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It can be hard to take the first steps in these cases when your livelihood is at stake, but know that you have rights available to you. Let us help you determine what you can do to bring an end to your employer's unlawful behavior.