Is someone harassing you because of your sexual orientation?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2022 | sexual harassment |

With Pride month in full swing, there is much for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate. For example, according to the Movement Advancement Project, 22 states and the District of Columbia explicitly prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Thankfully, California is one of these states.

While it may be heartening to know your employer may not terminate your employment because of your sexual orientation, you still may encounter inappropriate harassment when you go to work. Fortunately, though, you retain an important right to be free from sexual harassment based on your sexual orientation.

Actual or perceived sexual orientation

If someone is harassing you because of your sexual orientation, it is important to understand you do not have to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community to have legal protections. After all, California’s law covers both actual and perceived sexual orientation.

Your resistance strategy

It can be tough to push back against sexual harassment, of course. Still, if you become a victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment, you may want to implement a resistance strategy. Your first step should be to read through your employer’s policy on sexual harassment and follow its reporting instructions.

If your employer lacks an explicit policy that addresses sexual harassment, you continue to have rights and legal remedies. Filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, for example, is likely to get your employer’s attention.

Your employer cannot retaliate against you because you choose to submit a complaint to the CDFEH. Ultimately, if your boss punishes you for complaining about workplace sexual harassment, you may have an additional legal cause of action to pursue.