California women often experience both gender bias and sexual harassment on the job. The problems that are faced by female employees transcend income levels as women in entry-level and executive positions face gender-based employment discrimination. A poll of female advertising industry employees found that 54 percent of women in that occupation feel vulnerable at work because of their gender.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment to include verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, requests for sexual favors and unwelcome sexual advances. Incidents of such behavior in California and around the country, though, may be underreported. According to a national survey conducted by Cosmopolitan magazine, 71 percent of women who said they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace also said they did not report it.
California residents may be aware of the resignation of Roger Ailes from his position as CEO of the Fox News Channel. After running it for two decades, Ailes stepped down amid allegations that he sexually harassed female employees for years. A few days later, a guest on a CNN show expressed surprise that Ailes' accusers took so long to talk about the sexual harassment that they had experienced.
California readers may have heard that television news anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment complaint against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes on July 6. The case serves as a reminder that, even in 2016, sexual harassment is still a reality for many American workers.
California residents may have heard about the HBO film 'Confirmation." The film features the story of Anita Hill, a federal employee who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 and alleged that she had been the victim of workplace sexual harassment by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Though Thomas denied Hill's allegations and ended up being appointed to the Supreme Court, the testimony drew a lot of national attention to the issue of workplace sexual harassment.
Employers are often held responsible for ensuring that employees are able to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment. In addition to the fact that managers are not to harass employees, if a worker complains that a co-worker is the perpetrator, it is up to the organization to ensure that the problem is taken care of. Failing to address reports of harassment may lead to legal issues for a business.
While sexual harassment in California workplaces is often less overt than it was in decades past, it is still prevalent, according to professional women and worker advocates. In fact, social media media sites like Twitter have made it easier for women to openly discuss their experiences with sexual harassment, and the public dialogue is shedding light on the issue.
California workers may be surprised to learn that many of the nation's unpaid interns have no legal protections against workplace sexual harassment because of a federal loophole. However, Congress may finally be making moves to address the issue.
Many California residents are awed by the majesty of the Grand Canyon every year, and they may be surprised to learn about a report detailing rampant sexual harassment and abuse among workers at the popular national park. The report was released by the Department of the Interior on Jan. 12, and it follows an investigation that was prompted by a complaint filed in 2014 by several park employees concerning the treatment of female workers over a 15-year period.
Although California workplace sexual harassment victims may feel powerless to stop the behavior from taking place, there are many options at their disposal. In some cases, informal workplace changes may solve the problem. However, if changes fail to put a stop to the abuse, a victim may be able to file a lawsuit to hold a harasser responsible for his or her actions.