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San Francisco Bay Area Employment Law Blog

Why some people stay silent after sexual harassment

Some challenges in the workplace are good for competition and morale. However, when someone in California is being sexually harassed, there is no positive spin to put on the situation. Still, some people continue to go to their jobs every day and put up with the illegal behavior. In fact, according to ABC News, complaints are only filed by between 6 and 13 percent of sexual harassment victims.

What keeps them suffering in silence? Many people worry that the consequences will be worse after reporting it. Fear of retaliation may not just come in the form of a lost career. Backlash in the form of co-worker rejection or humiliation could also be a very real threat, as well.

Workplace diversity may result in employee bias

In their efforts to build a better future for their companies, businesses may hire employees from different ethnic backgrounds and experiences. Some of the existing employees may not react well to change -- they may have been happy with the way things were. In fact, this new management decision might pose challenges on several fronts and uncover a bias against the new hires.

If you are among those new hires and find that fellow employees are making workplace life difficult for you, remember that you have options. You may wish to reach out to an attorney experienced with employee discrimination matters.

Finding work and keeping it at any age

At a time when many people in California are thinking about putting off retirement or finding a job due to fear of a lower standard of living, it appears that employers are looking for ways to maintain a younger workforce. Not only that, according to a study reported in Forbes magazine, women in their 60s who were applying for jobs had significantly lower chances of getting an interview than younger or middle-aged women, and they were also less likely to be called back than men of the same age.

Discrimination against anyone in the hiring process due to age is against the law, AARP explains, due to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Advertisements and job postings should not indicate that the company prefers to hire people of a certain age, although in some cases it may be acceptable to include questions about birth or graduation dates on an application.

Signs of discrimination at work

When people go to work in California, they do so with the expectation that they will receive fair treatment in all aspects of their employment. Yet, workplace discrimination is an issue that runs rampant in many job environments. Many people commonly confuse the signs of discrimination as normal and acceptable behavior. Discrimination can also occur so subtly that victims are not even aware that it is happening to them, states TheTeachersDigest.com. As a result, many incidents are often dismissed, accepted and unreported.

Victims are often targeted because of their age, race, religious beliefs and gender. Employees should learn to recognize the signs of workplace discrimination so they can prevent it and protect their rights. 

Does the law cover harassment in a very small company?

California staunchly protects workers’ rights; the state has some of the toughest antidiscrimination laws in the country. If you worked in a company that has 15 or more employees, you are probably familiar with laws enforced by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

However, if you are now working for a much smaller company as one of only five employees, for example, are you still protected under the law if you have become the target for sexual harassment?

What to do if you experience racial discrimination at work

Many professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area experience racial discrimination every day even though it is prohibited by law. According to a poll in Money.CNN.com, racial discrimination is a major issue that at least “15 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of black people experienced within the last month.” Many victims do not know what to do about it, so they say nothing and continue to suffer in silence. 

Anyone who experiences racial discrimination at their job should take some time to learn how they can fight and prevent it. 

The effects of workplace harassment on employee health

For many people in the San Francisco Bay Area, the effects of workplace harassment do not end in the workplace. They often permeate into their lives, affecting their physical and emotional health, personal relationships and overall quality of life. According to MedicalDaily.com, “45 percent of workplace harassment victims experience health issues from the stress of their situations. 

Workers who are victimized often become easier targets for future harassment incidents. They are not the only ones who suffer when harassment is going on. Witnesses of workplace harassment often experience high levels of stress and fear, states Halogen Talent Space. 

Is sexual harassment in the workplace preventable?

If you are a California business owner, you have probably thought extensively about preventative measures for protecting your employees. Policies addressing workplace violence, discrimination and safety protocols may be some of the topics you have considered. Sexual harassment is another complicated issue that is often avoidable with the right protocols in place.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides employers like you with several steps that can be taken to encourage respectful behavior and immediately rectify actions that are not acceptable. These include the following:

  • Anti-harassment policy: Begin by creating an anti-harassment policy that clearly outlines your expectations for appropriate and acceptable behavior. Inform violators that they cannot retaliate against anyone who has filed a complaint against them.
  • Confidential hotline: Create a hotline or some type of confidential system for reporting complaints. Doing so will provide victims with a place where they can safely and confidently report what has happened without public humiliation or embarrassment.
  • Disclosure and education: Talk to each of your employees about the company anti-harassment policy and clarify their full understanding. Encourage employees to utilize hotlines and other resources designed for full, confidential disclosure of concerning behavior.
  • Trainings: Provide supervisors and managers with informative trainings designed to educate them about the types of questionable activity to watch for. You should also verify that each department has an anti-harassment policy printed and posted in a noticeable place.

Fired because of your race? Here is what to do

You are suddenly fired and distraught about facing unemployment. One thought crossing your mind is, “Was I fired because of my race?” Unfortunately, this may be the case. Although employment discrimination is illegal, employers sometimes still make isions based on the race or color of employees.

If you strongly feel that your race was a factor in your termination, you deserve assistance figuring out what to do next. Here is some information to help you find out if you have a basis for a wrongful termination claim, what damages may be available and what steps to take.

We Are Ready To Help. Start With A Free Consultation.

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