Sexual harassment is one of the many issues that a lot of employees in California face. Basically, this form of sex discrimination usually involves a physical, verbal, or visual action towards an employee that is sexual in nature. As it is, sexual harassment, like any other forms of employment discrimination, is prohibited under various federal and state employment and labor laws such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
For the most part, cases of sexual harassment are prohibited in both the public and private sectors of employment. While some private employers often face such cases of harassment whenever aggrieved employees file claims against them, even some government agencies on both the national and state levels are also accused of this kind of sex discrimination.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) based on alleged discrimination on the basis of sex. The complaint was originally brought up to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which then referred the case to the Los Angeles office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It initially conducted an investigation with regard to the claims, and then referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice thereafter.
Case files revealed that Joe B. Cummings, a male cook with the CDCR, was sexually harassed by a female co-worker for over a year until 2009, when he was placed on leave for unrelated reasons. The lawsuit asserted that Cummings was frequently subjected to “unwanted and unwelcomed sexual advances,” which included inappropriate touching and profane comments.
In fact, in August 2008, the female co-worker shoved her hand down his pants and then hit him on the head. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the plaintiff Cummings aired his complaint with his supervisors a lot of times, but the latter failed to address it.
The CDCR’s failure to prevent the harassment from happening despite the aggrieved employee’s complaint is a violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, and nation of origin.
Meanwhile, a Los Angeles employment lawyer commented on the case, saying that sexual harassment does not always involve male harassers. Such form of discrimination of sex affects both sexes. The attorney also advised employees to seek a reputable legal counsel if they have been subjected to any kind of workplace bias.