California residents may have heard about some of the prominent sexual harassment cases that have been in the news lately. Throughout the presidential campaign, there were allegations of sexual harassment made against a presidential candidate, a former president and the former CEO of Fox News. With the public thinking more about the issue of sexual harassment, some people believe that there could be an increase in sexual harassment lawsuits this year.

In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed over 6,800 workplace sexual harassment claims against employers. Damage awards from those claims cost employers $46 million, the highest payout in five years. Though employers paid more to settle sexual harassment claims last year, the number of claims filed has actually been declining each year since 2010, when the EEOC filed 7,900 claims.

Employers should understand what kind of behavior constitutes sexual harassment so that they can put policies in place to prevent it. After learning about a sexual harassment problem in the workplace, an employer may be able to prevent a lawsuit by acting swiftly to correct the problem. Workplace sexual harassment victims can be the people who are directly harassed as well as those who are indirectly affected by the toxic work environment.

An employee who still gets sexually harassed after complaining to a supervisor about the problem may have a good case for filing a lawsuit. If the employee suffered monetary damages related to the sexual harassment, the employee may pursue reimbursement for these damages in their claim. Damages claimed in sexual harassment lawsuits often include loss of income from a wrongful termination.