When an employee reports that he or she is being sexually harassed, an employer has a duty to properly investigate the complaint and take appropriate actions. If the employer does not, it could be argued that it promotes a hostile work environment, and a lawsuit can be filed.
According to Petaluma Argus-Courier, a woman may file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the City of Petaluma, claiming that her male colleagues sexually harassed her.
The newspaper reported that firefighter Andrea Waters was hired in June 2008, and was the first female firefighter to join the department in more than 30 years. She reportedly shared a living quarters with other male firefighters, and locks were allegedly installed on the bathroom doors and curtains were hung to give her privacy around her bunk.
However, sources told the newspaper that the male firefighters she shared space with could see over or around the curtains, and made her uncomfortable on several occasions by commenting on her body while she changed.
Currently, Waters has filed two complaints—one against the city and one with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigates sexual harassment claims. It should be noted that this is common—to move forward with a case like this, a claim must be submitted and reviewed by the EEOC.
In this case, the city could choose to settle the claim and offer damages or reject it as unfounded, at which point litigation could move forward.
Can I Sue My Former Employer for Sexual Harassment?
A sexual harassment claim against your employer can be a complex undertaking. However, you should seek representation if you are ever made to feel uncomfortable, objectified or insufficient because of your gender.
If you believe that you have been subjected to this form of abuse, our lawyers have over 70 years of combined experience representing the victims of workplace sexual harassment.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys