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Sexual Harassment by Sexting or Email
Often, work communications occur over the computer or by cellphone. Supervisors, coworkers, and customers may email or text information to one another and lose their sense of boundaries. Inappropriate emails and texts have become commonplace. People may assume that anything goes in private communications. However, California law prohibits workplace sexual harassment even when it takes the form of sexting or emails. The critical inquiry will be whether the harassment creates a hostile work environment or constitutes quid pro quo harassment. If you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment by sexting or email, you should consult the Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at the Kokozian Law Firm.Sexual Harassment by Sexting or Email
Sexual harassment takes many different forms. Often, people who work together are linked by phone, text messaging, social media, and email. This overlap between personal and work domains can lead to carelessness over what is appropriate.
Sexual harassment can take the form of sexts or emails or other online communications. Importantly, these communications must be unwanted to be illegal. You should give your employer a chance to rectify the situation. For instance, if your supervisor sends you sexually explicit texts or “sexts” both during and after work, you should let your supervisor know that this is unwelcome.
Similarly, if a coworker repeatedly sends sexually explicit emails and asks you out, this may constitute sexual harassment. You should also notify HR or follow any other grievance procedures set up and described in your employment handbook. Our attorneys may be able to hold the employer liable for the coworker’s conduct if it fails to take appropriate measures to fix the situation.FEHA
FEHA is the state law that prohibits all forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment by sexting or email. Usually, FEHA’s protections are greater than those provided under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Whereas Title VII applies only to employers with at least 15 employees, FEHA applies to employers with at least five employees, and regarding its harassment provisions, it applies to all employers.Quid pro quo Harassment
Courts classify sexual harassment as quid pro quo sexual harassment or hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs if your employment is conditioned on submitting to sexual advances. This type of harassment occurs only if it is perpetrated by a supervisor, manager, or other authority figure in the workplace. For example, if your employer texts you that you can get a promotion if you will sleep with him, this is obvious quid pro quo harassment. Often, the circumstances are more ambiguous. For instance, if your manager makes sexual overtures on your Facebook page, you may believe that your continued employment hinges on whether you agree to sex, even if he also writes that he is joking. Similarly, if your supervisor sexts you with a photograph of his sexual organ, you may believe that your employment is contingent on not complaining and accepting the behavior.Hostile Work Environment Harassment
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when the harassing conduct is so severe or pervasive that it changes the terms and conditions of employment. To determine whether there was hostile work environment harassment, courts in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California will look at the nature of the sexts or emails and how offensive they were, how frequent the communications were, on how many days the offensive communications occurred, and the context of the sexually harassing conduct. For example, if a coworker emails you each day with sexually explicit emails, the court is likely to take that situation more seriously than a one-off email sent by the coworker. Generally, the repeated use of sexual slurs is sufficient to establish actionable sexual harassment. If language inherently involves gender, it is more likely to be considered sexual harassment.Consult a Sexual Harassment Attorney
If you were subject to sexual harassment by sexting or email, you should talk about the viability of your claim with the experienced attorneys at the Kokozian Law Firm. We represent people in Los Angeles and throughout California. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.