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Protecting students against harassment in California

Category: Hostile Work Environment

According to a recent study, approximately 33 percent of teenagers say that they have been sexually harassed at work. In fact, some believe that this number may be higher as many teenagers may not want to speak up and risk retribution from their managers. Another reason why this number may not be higher is because they may be too embarrassed to tell their parents about the situation.

Fortunately, teenagers have rights in the workplace that must be respected. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees can not be discriminated against due to their gender, religious beliefs or national origin. Employers are also not allowed to discriminate against a worker due to his or her skin color. Many workers who are targeted are harassed because they may not have many friends on the job or are otherwise thought of as vulnerable.

This may lead them to believe that the situation could get worse if they complain. However, those who report harassment on the job are not allowed by law to be retaliated against or treated differently simply for reporting it to their supervisor. Those who are familiar with the issues that young people face at work say that increased communication is needed to make sure that young employees know their rights.

Those who are subjected to workplace harassment of a sexual nature may wish to contact an attorney. It may be possible to win compensation in the form of back pay and reinstatement if termination occurs after reporting an incident. One of the more pernicious forms of sexual harassment is when a promotion or raise is implicitly or explicitly conditioned upon the performance of a sexual favor, which is also prohibited.

Source: USA Today, “Know your rights: What students can do about sexual harassment in the workplace”, Alexandra Samuels, March 6, 2015

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