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Is San Diego a hotbed of on-the-job sexual discrimination and harassment?

There are many things to love about living here in Southern California — the proximity to beautiful beaches, the near-perfect weather are just two of many. But apparently, there are drawbacks to employment here in San Diego County that include a propensity for sexual harassment and discrimination at work.

Large employers in the county often were the subject of claims of harassment and discrimination by their workers in recent years. Below are some statistics to back up these allegations.

Half a decade of harassment and discrimination

In the span between 2015 through May 2020, nearly a dozen of the biggest employers in the county had almost 200 claims of on-the-job discrimination and harassment lodged against them with the regulatory agency, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. This is the necessary first step to potential litigation.

Breaking it down year by year, on average, 29 claims got filed annually, although 2018 was a banner year for these allegations, peaking at 35 claims. A disproportionate number of claimants were people of color and women, stated that attorneys who represented them.

Egregious remarks and actions commonplace

According to one claimant, her supervisor at a leading tech firm in the county openly told the woman that her “vagina is alienating people” when she was passed over repeatedly for promotions. Another woman employed by the city was forced to listen to one co-worker describe to the other men his perceived description of her female genitalia.

Still another city worker had to regularly urinate all over himself because he was denied bathroom access while working and had a medical condition that required him to consume a lot of water.

Where to turn after harassment and discrimination?

Finding the inner strength to confront those in power who harass and discriminate against those they see as weak and without options can be quite intimidating. You don’t have to face these powers alone, however. Discussing your legal options can clarify your path forward.