Employment law violations have garnered significant attention in California and across the United States. This is especially true with allegations of sexual harassment. Often, this was related to people who committed the harassment in person with allegations of inappropriate material being shown, sex-based comments and aggressive attempts to forge a relationship among other behaviors.
As more people are working from home, harassment allegations have continued, albeit in a different forum. Employers should know about a new law that may be passed in California to address this and be prepared to defend against claims related to it.
New law would address “cyber flashers”
People who are interacting with colleagues from home and using video applications on their computers are increasingly alleging that they are being “flashed” with inappropriate images. This can also occur through email, texting and in other ways. A bill that was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom would allow victims to file a lawsuit.
This is a new wrinkle that employers should be aware of as it can leave them vulnerable to complaints and legal filings. The measure was passed by the Assembly without opposition. The Senate did the same and sent it to the governor.
Young women are said to be the primary victims of this behavior. One in three who complained about being harassed online were younger than 35. A report from 2017 said that half of women from 18 to 29 received this imagery. For men, it was 37%. Damages for a legal claim could reach $30,000. There would also be punitive damages and the order to pay legal fees.
Employers should prepare for this new law and consider professional help
There has been a growing movement to automatically believe people who complain about employment law violations and sexual harassment. While many claims are true, there are others that are not or are exaggerated to make them look worse. Employers have the right to defend against these cases to try and avoid the negative connotations professionally and financially. For a defense, it is essential to have professional guidance and representation that is current on employment law and can try to find strategies to reach a positive result.