Being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace can be very damaging to an employee. The employee may have to go to work while dealing with the shame, embarrassment and fear that sexual harassment can create. Some employees may have no idea how to react to sexual harassment at work, and therefore they don’t take any steps to stop it. Others may not even recognize that they have been victims of sexual harassment.

No matter how an employee reacts, in California employers have a duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace under employment laws. The burden is placed on the employer, not the employee. Recently, American Apparel, a Los Angeles based clothing company, has taken steps to prevent sexual harassment in their company.

According to reports, the company has terminated the contract of the company’s former chief executive officer. The former CEO — and company founder — had been accused of sexually harassing company employees and having inappropriate sexual relations with employees. One employee — who was afraid of losing her job — even accused the former CEO of keeping her as a sex slave.

These allegations sparked an internal investigation within the clothing chain. This investigation led the company to terminate its contract with the man with cause. He has been on a suspension since June but acting as a consultant. This vote will officially end his relationship with the company. Following the company’s decision, stock prices for American Apparel increased by 8.6 percent.

Unlike this situation, not all companies take steps to protect employees from sexual harassment. In some cases, employees are fired for complaining about sexual harassment, or nothing is done to stop or protect them from illegal treatment. In these cases, California employees should know that they have legal rights. With the right help, they can stop the harassment and seek compensation for how they were treated.

Source: Daily Mail, “Controversial American Apparel founder Dov Charney is fired after multiple sexual harassment lawsuits,” Dec. 17, 2014