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Understanding third-party workplace harassment in California

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is a serious issue, but many people don’t know that harassment can come from third parties, not just coworkers or bosses.

What is third-party workplace harassment?

Third-party workplace harassment happens when someone who doesn’t work for your employer, like a customer, client, or vendor, harasses you while you’re doing your job. This type of harassment is just as serious as any other kind and can affect your work environment and well-being.

California law on third-party harassment

California law protects employees from harassment by third parties. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and correct it when they know about it. This includes harassment by non-employees.

Recognizing third-party harassment

Third-party harassment can take many forms, including:

  • Inappropriate comments: Offensive jokes, remarks, or questions about your race, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics.
  • Unwanted physical contact: Touching, hugging, or other physical interactions that make you uncomfortable.
  • Sexual advances: Unwanted flirting, propositions, or comments about your appearance.

What to do if you experience third-party harassment

If you are experiencing harassment at work, it’s important to report it to your employer, whether it’s your supervisor or HR department. Keeping records of what happened, including dates, times, and any witnesses, can support your case if further action is needed. It’s also crucial to know your rights and understand that you have the right to a safe and respectful work environment, as mandated by California law.

Protecting yourself from third-party harassment

Third-party harassment is a real issue that can affect your work life. By knowing your rights and what steps to take, you can protect yourself and ensure your workplace remains safe and respectful. Understanding California law and your employer’s responsibilities can help you navigate this difficult situation.

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