Employers have a responsibility to ensure their workers are not the victims of on-the-job sexual harassment. They must take all reasonable steps to be aware of harassment when it is occurring, and they must respond thoroughly and promptly when employees complain about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Unfortunately, some employers do not fulfill this duty.
Consider the experiences of numerous Victoria’s Secret sales associates throughout the nation. Reporters from The Daily Beast recently interviewed employees of Victoria’s Secret locations in California, New York, North Carolina, and various other parts of the country. Their reporting indicates management at the company may be dismissing workers’ valid concerns.
Victoria’s Secret workers who spoke with The Daily Beast’s reporters shared many stories about being harassed by customers, only for their employers to take little or no action when made aware of these incidents.
One former employee of Victoria’s Secret store in California described how she had been assisting an older man and his wife when the man made a sexually-chared comment about her body. Although this employee stated that her assistant manager did speak up for her, she also explained that when other members of the management team learned of her experience, they referred her to the employee dress code instead of taking her seriously.
This story is not an outlier. It echoes the experiences of other Victoria’s Secret employees.
Some who have spoken about this issue mention that, even if they never felt like they were in immediate danger, they did feel vulnerable and significantly uncomfortable at times. They have pointed out that many Victoria’s Secret sales associates are young women who are just out of high school. On the flip side, many of the customers who harass them are older men. This dynamic can make it difficult for employees to feel confident speaking up for themselves.
The fact that management doesn’t seem willing to help them when they ask for assistance in handling these encounters makes enduring such treatment even more challenging. According to one employee who spoke with The Daily Beast, a manager literally told her she would “just have to put up with” customers’ lewd behavior from time to time.
Such stories are also covered in a new Hulu documentary about Victoria’s Secret. Hopefully, more media attention to the problem will result in much-needed changes.
In the meantime, though, alarming stories like these should remind all employers that preventing sexual harassment in the workplace doesn’t just involve taking steps to remedy the circumstances when employees are harassing one another. Employers must also consider how they may protect their workers from being harassed by customers.
At The Kaufman Law Firm, Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney Matthew A. Kaufman also believes it is vital for workers to understand their legal rights when harassment is taking place. If you believe you are being harassed and your employer is not doing their part to help you, consider meeting with an attorney to discuss whether you have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit. Get more information about your legal options by contacting us online or calling us at 818-990-1999 to schedule a consultation.
Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.
To learn more, contact our Westlake Village or Los Angeles law office today and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.