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Important facts regarding sexual harassment

Companies in California are bound by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says that sexual harassment is a type of discrimination. As such, all employees should know a few key facts about sexual harassment so that they can protect themselves if necessary.

First off, sexual harassment does not always look the same. In some cases, it could be as simple as a crass joke made in the workplace or a string of jokes. In other cases, it could be an unwanted sexual advance or some type of inappropriate touching. It could also be the demand for sexual favors, with the implied or spoken threat or termination if these things are not done. These are just a few examples, but they do show how wide the range can be.

It's also important to note that genders do not matter. Those who are victims can be both men and women, as can the harassers. Additionally, while the two may be of opposite genders, they could also be of the same gender.

Those doing the harassing are often stereotypically thought of as supervisors or even executives, abusing the power of their station. While this can definitely happen, it's also possible for an employee to simply be harassed by a co-worker who is on the same level.

Victims could also be somewhat unconnected to the main event. For instance, if one person is being harassed verbally and other employees are around to witness it and hear it, they could also be victims, even if they were not targeted. Anyone who is affected counts as a victim.

However, to be a harasser, the person has to do something that was not asked for and that is not wanted. For example, a co-worker cannot start up a sexual relationship or ask for that relationship and then claim later that it was harassment.

If you've been harassed in the workplace, be sure you know what legal options you have.

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