Similar to many other industries, the security industry has actual and perceived barriers to filing sexual harassment complaints. A recent case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against security giant Guardsmark involves a security guard who was fired for notifying a woman who was the target of another security guard's offensive actions, which involved zooming in on the woman's private parts with a security camera. The other security guard told the perpetrator to stop these actions, but he did not do so. When the woman filed a sexual harassment complaint, the employer fired the security guard who notified the woman of the conduct.
In this case, the EEOC maintains that Guardsmark, the employer, can be held strictly liable for emotional distress damages experienced by the fired employee and for punitive damages, as is stated in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law protects employees who report sexual harassment from being retaliated against.
Have you been sexually harassed in the workplace? You have rights. Call Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, at (510) 433-1000 for a free consultation.
Is It Really Sexual Harassment? Here Is How To Know.
Many people have been taught through culture to tolerate sexual harassment or that we are risking our friendships and careers if we report it. As a result, most people are unsure of what we should actually report because the most common forms of sexual harassment (offensive comments, remarks and leering looks) seem to happen regularly.
There are several types of sexual harassment that everyone should be aware of and immediately question when encountered:
- Offensive or degrading comments and remarks about someone's body or sexuality
- Repeatedly getting asked on dates or being hit on
- Unwanted and unwelcome attention
- Offensive or obscene gestures
- Offensive notes or invitations
- Gender discrimination
- Inappropriate touching or grabbing
- Leering or ogling looks
- Requests for sexual favors
- Sexual advances
- Sexual assault
Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or visual. A request to wear demeaning clothing could be harassment. If supervisors at any level are behind sexually harassing actions, your employer can be held strictly liable.
Harassment can decrease productivity and one's ability to perform essential job functions correctly. It can create a hostile work environment, and you should not hesitate to report it. An experienced attorney can advise you through appropriate steps to take and help you understand your legal options.
Contact Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP
As top-rated sexual harassment litigators in California, our lawyers are equipped to advise you and protect your rights anywhere in the state. Email or call us at (510) 433-1000 at our Oakland or Los Angeles offices. We pursue all cases on a contingency fee basis, and we offer free initial consultations.
We do not represent perpetrators of sexual harassment or those who are accused of sexually harassing behavior.