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How to avoid harassment in the workplace

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers were slapped with nearly 90,000 workplace discrimination charges in 2014. Further, statistics show that one in three women face sexual harassment at some point in their employment history. In order to avoid costly workplace disruptions and litigation fees, California employers need to vigilantly protect their employees from harassment.

Many types of harassment can pop up in work environments. Employees are legally protected from all harassment that involves age, race, religion, color, national origin, disability and sex. For example, someone may have an age harassment case if they are not hired or excluded from certain activities due to their age, and an employee may have a disability harassment case if they are ridiculed or treated differently over a real or perceived disability. Meanwhile, sexual harassment cases may involve lewd comments, jokes and requests for sexual favors. It should be noted that sexual harassment can occur between people of the same or opposite sex.

Employees who have been the victims of harassment have the legal right to report the situation to the EEOC without fear of retaliation from their employer. Private industry workers must report incidents of harassment within 180 days of the incident, while federal workers must report incidents within 45 days. To reduce or eliminate harassment cases, employers should make themselves aware of the various ways harassment can creep into the workplace and train managers and employees on how to avoid inappropriate behaviors and actions.

California workers who have been the victims of workplace harassment may benefit by speaking with a lawyer. Counsel could carefully review the details of the complaint and explain all the legal options available.

Source: Business 2 Community, "The Types of Workplace Harassment You Need to Avoid," Tess Taylor, March 25, 2016

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