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As an employee, you have rights protecting you from sexual harassment in the workplace. Both California and federal laws protect you from harassment.

Two male Hooters employees in the Los Angeles area recently settled a lawsuit that involved a superior allegedly sexually harassing them and then retaliating after the men reported the harassment. The case shows how sexual harassment can lead to a toxic work environment.

Sexual jokes can be sexual harassment

In the lawsuit, the two men described multiple times where their supervisor made them uncomfortable with sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate touching. In meetings he would make crude sexual jokes about the men. The supervisor also made jokes about the name of one of the men, comparing its spelling to a sexual organ. And after the men reported the sexual harassment, they claim that Hooters retaliated, even firing one of the men.

Hooters has settled the lawsuit out of court. But the company insists that they have a strict policy against both sexual harassment and retaliation. Attorneys for Hooters denied that the men suffered sexual harassment or retaliation.

A hostile work environment

As this case shows, anyone can face sexual harassment in the workplace. These two men did not face a supervisor attempting to receive sexual favors from them. Instead, the supervisor created a hostile work environment. The men felt uncomfortable in their jobs because of their supervisor making sexual comments. Even if the supervisor just thought he was being funny, his actions created a hostile work environment that the law does not allow.

Report sexual harassment in your workplace

You don’t have to accept sexual harassment in your job. If you feel uncomfortable due to a hostile work environment, you should report a complaint to your supervisor. You may also consider hiring an attorney if your employer ignores your complaint or retaliates.

While you may not want to cause a stir in your job, you should always report sexual harassment. The government protects your right to a workplace free of harassment.

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