Due to the close proximity that California EMS workers have while working, sexual harassment claims in this field are not uncommon. Knowing how to respond appropriately to this type of behavior in the workplace helps employees resolve issues faster so that they can focus on saving lives.

Sexual harassment may consist of unwanted sexual advances, sexual comments, showing images of a sexual nature, threats of retribution if an employee does not provide sexual favors or other actions that rise to the level of making a work environment hostile based on the employee’s sex. All EMS workers should be familiar with their employer’s sexual harassment claim procedures. A good policy will include examples of inappropriate behavior. Additionally, the employer should make clear which forms the employee should file and to whom to provide the form to activate an investigation.

In order to strengthen a sexual harassment claim, the employee should clearly state that he or she does not welcome the offender’s conduct. It is common for an offender to claim that the victim of sexual harassment was interested in him or her. The employee should also document the date and nature of each offense. If the harassment continues, the employee should make a formal complaint regarding the offensive conduct. The employee should ask for a meeting with the supervisor or human resources manager that handles such claims. However, if he or she is not satisfied with the resolution, the employee should move up the chain of command.

People who feel that they have been sexually harassed at their place of work may want to discuss their options with an employment law attorney. After a review of the situation, counsel may choose to assist in the filing of a claim with the EEOC or appropriate state agency.