3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected

3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected



3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected

An incident of sexual harassment on one hand and taking a leave of absence on the other are two types of situations that would not appear to coexist in the same set of facts, but unfortunately, the two can go hand-in-hand. A Sexual Harassment Attorney is the type of legal professional who would handle a case where both sexual harassment and a leave of absence were connected.


What is a leave of absence? There are laws in California and laws at the federal level that protect certain leaves of absence for employees. In general, an employee may be considered for a leave of absence if he or she is considered by a doctor as suffering from a severe illness or injury.  The laws that govern leaves recognize certain physical and mental illnesses.


What is sexual harassment?  Sexual harassment in employment law is considered to be a type of discrimination.  At first glance, it may not make sense for sexual harassment to be identified as a type of discrimination. Normally when one thinks of discrimination, the common things that come to mind are race, religion, or ethnicity.  Discrimination against an employee’s race or religion would include the same type of adverse treatment and isolation, but it would not be of a sexual nature, rather it would be based on the employee’s race or religion. The truth of the matter is that sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination.  When an employee is sexually harassed they are also being victimized, singled out, and treated adversely because of their sex, i.e. being a man or a woman.  An employee who is sexually harassed is made to feel that he or she is being treated differently than others because of their sex and this treatment is of a sexual nature.


To be sexually harassed means an employee is made to feel uncomfortable and involuntarily subjected to unwanted behavior that is of a sexual nature within the workplace.  Because sexual harassment singles out a person based on their sex, sexual harassment is considered as a type of discrimination.


Sexual harassment comes in many different forms and can arise in various circumstances.  Sexual harassment is most commonly exercised through verbal communication and physical contact.  Another form of sexual harassment is demonstrated through visuals such as a person exposing parts of their body, presenting suggestive or lewd photos, presenting inappropriate images such as memes or cartoons, and presenting videos that contain sexual content.  Inappropriate movements or behavior may be characterized as sexual harassment such as gestures a person may make to another which are suggestive and of a sexual nature.  Some examples of suggestive gestures may include gyrating, winking, blowing kisses, or the acting out of sexual acts.  Romantic overtures is another form of sexual harassment such as asking someone out on a date or commenting on their physical features or smells.


Sexual harassment does not always entail a romantic pursuit, e.g. boy likes girl, a boy asks a girl out on a date.  Sometimes sexual harassment can be found in situations where the harasser is not sexually motivated but harasses the employee for reasons or in ways that are of a sexual nature. For example, a group of female employees may not like another particular employee and may call her derogatory names such as slut or tramp and spread vulgar rumors about her sleeping with the manager of the company.  In that situation, the female employee may be considered as a victim of sexual harassment because the other female employees are singling her out and harassing her in ways that are of a sexual nature. Another example would be if a male employee showed one of his coworkers a video on his phone of he and his girlfriend having sexual intercourse.  In that scenario, although the man showing the video may not be romantically pursuing the other male employee, showing him the video may still be considered as sexual harassment because he is being subjected to an inappropriate image that is of a sexual nature. It may also be taken into account that by presenting this video, the employee felt uncomfortable.   Where an employee needs legal advice or needs legal representation, a Sexual Harassment Attorney is the most suitable type of lawyer to contact.


3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected

  1. Sexual harassment can injure a person


An employee may suffer physical or mental injuries from sexual harassment.

Although sexual harassment may not cause immediate harm to a person’s health, it may surface after the fact or build up over time.  If an employee is subjected to sexual harassment, this may cause mental harm such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, post-traumatic distress disorder, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, or insomnia.  These mental harms may also have physical effects such as hair loss, vomiting, emotional outbursts, and trouble breathing.  Being sexually harassed on its own can be a traumatic experience but when it also occurs at an individual’s place of work, the horror of the occurrence can be amplified.  An employee has the right to feel safe at work and not live in fear of being preyed upon by a harasser.


3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected


  1. A victim of sexual harassment may need to take a leave of absence

An employee who is subjected to sexual harassment may suffer from a physical or mental illness due to that harassment and as a result, the employee may need time off from work.

If a doctor declares an employee is suffering from a severe illness or injury, the employee may be entitled to a leave of absence.


3 Ways Sexual Harassment and Leaves of Absence Can Be Connected


  1. Sexual harassment and a leave of absence may lead to wrongful termination


Another way sexual harassment and a leave of absence are connected is where an employee is wrongfully terminated.  An employee may suffer a recognized serious illness or injury due to sexual harassment at work and as a result, may take a medical leave of absence. After the employee takes the leave of absence, he or she may be fired or let go due to taking the leave which may be considered as an illegal action by the employer.  If an employee takes a leave for a recognized reason, it may be unlawful for the employer to terminate the employee for taking the leave which is called wrongful termination.  Where a situation like this was to unfold, the employee should call a Sexual Harassment Attorney.