Federal officials have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a California electric company alleging that they allowed discrimination against female employees. According to a news report in the Insurance Journal, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the suit against Bakersfield-based Braun Electric Company. The lawsuit alleges that for the past two years, a male manager at the company “subjected female workers to explicit sexual comments and gestures about his sexual fantasies and asked them to perform sex acts.”
In addition, the complaint alleges that the company violated the federal Civil Rights Act by ignoring reports made by the women and failed to take action to prevent the harassment from occurring. At least one female employee was forced to quit her job because she could not tolerate the harassment any more, the agency states in the complaint.
Sexual Harassment Laws
Both, California and federal laws offer a strong measure of protection against sexual harassment in the workplace. Under the law, there are two distinct types of sexual harassment at the workplace: quid pro quo sexual harassment and harassment that creates a hostile work environment for employees.
Quid pro quo harassment is a form of sexual harassment that involves a supervisor taking sexual favors or making the employee tolerate his or her harassing conduct in exchange for promotions, benefits or continuation of employment. Under California law, the employer is liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor. In such cases, the affected victims can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for lost wages, attorney fees and emotional distress.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
Hostile work environment means harassing conduct that is severe and pervasive. It may involve conduct such as intimidation, teasing, taunting, ridicule, hugging, groping, etc. Under the law, the employee does not have to be the direct target of such harassment in order to bring a claim for hostile work environment sexual harassment. An experienced California employment lawyer will be able to advise individuals who have been victimized in the workplace about their legal rights and options.