Despite numerous regulations prohibiting workplace sexual harassment, recurring trainings, and consultants who regularly remind employers and employees alike of the ethical and legal dangers of sexual harassment in the workplace, supervisors, managers, and even co-workers may still commit these unlawful acts.
In fact, sexual harassment is still a widespread phenomenon. According to one study, over 80% of women and over 40% of men experienced some form of sexual harassment, and much of it occurs in the workplace.
Being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace jeopardizes your job and your dignity. For this reason, you should seek experienced and committed legal representation.
Because there are many areas of law, it is important that you consult workplace sexual harassment lawyers who have specific knowledge and experience with these types of cases.
They will be able to provide you with the best advice possible and help you defend your rights.
We are Experienced Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers Who Fight for California Workers
If you believe you have been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment, you have rights that deserve to be protected by a sexual harassment lawyer in your area.
Let the Workplace Rights Law Group assist you in successfully navigating these complicated matters.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
It’s important to understand that both federal law and California state law prohibit sexual harassment. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law prohibiting sexual harassment.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the state law that prohibits sexual harassment. Federal law defines the term “sexual harassment” differently than California state law.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the main federal agency charged with adjudicating with combating discrimination and harassment across the country.
It defines illegal sexual harassment as behavior that “creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”
That definition is intentionally broad, so we’ll come back to it in a moment to break it down.
However, the EEOC also relates that sexual harassment does not merely encompass sexual behavior, like unwelcome advances or requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment can also include offensive comments about a person’s sex.
California state regulations define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A sexual harassment lawyer in Los Angeles can provide further counsel.
Sexual Harassment in a Workplace May Take Various Forms
Courts divide all sexual harassment claims into two different types.
Hostile Work Environment Harassment
The first kind of sexual harassment is called “hostile work environment” sexual harassment.
This is when sexual harassment becomes so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment for the employee.
Obvious examples of “hostile work environment” sexual harassment include:
- Leering, showing sexual images, or making sexual gestures;
- Making crude jokes or comments that are sexual in nature or that denigrate one sex or the other, even if you are not the intended audience for the joke or comment;
- Unwelcome and inappropriate touching, such as hugging, pinching, massaging, fondling, and/or kissing;
- Making sexual comments about one’s appearance or body; and/or
- Asking questions about a person’s sexual history, orientation, and/or preferences.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
The second kind of sexual harassment is “quid pro quo” harassment. The phrase “quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.”
Examples of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment include:
- Promising a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual favors or activities; and/or
- Threatening a demotion or reduction in pay unless you comply with the person’s demands for sexual favors
As any sexual harassment attorney can tell you, you can experience sexual harassment whether you are a man or a woman.
It also does not matter whether the person harassing you is your same gender or different gender. As mentioned above, you do not even need to be the intended target of sexually harassing behavior to have a sexual harassment claim.
Sexual harassment affects more than just the intended victim. It affects entire workplaces and companies.
Even relatively minor comments can cross the line and become illegal harassment when they are used repeatedly, or when enduring that behavior becomes a part of your job.
If you are experiencing any behavior that is remotely like what we mentioned above, you should reach out to a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer.
What to Do If You Experience Sexually Inappropriate or Harassing Behavior
No worker deserves to be sexually harassed. If you are the victim of any offensive behavior and/or words that are sexual in nature, you should make a record of the sexual harassment by noting the following:
- When the harassment occurred,
- Who committed the harassing act; and
- What manager or supervisor you spoke with concerning the harassment)
Then take action by speaking with our skilled Los Angeles, California sexual harassment attorneys. We can review your legal remedies and determine the best solution for your case.
There Are Protections for Those Who Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Legal protections exist for the victims of workplace sexual harassment as well as those who report incidents of sexual harassment that they witness.
That said, federal law and California law vary on the circumstances necessary for your employer to be held liable for your harassment.
Depending on the facts of your case, your employer can be held strictly liable for sexual harassment, even if the harassment came from an employee and not a supervisor.
Both federal law and California law afford you legal protections against workplace retaliation or wrongful termination.
In other words, your employer cannot take an adverse employment-related action against you or fire you simply because you reported an act of sexual harassment to an attorney or local or state authorities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are several common questions we receive about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Question #1: Does the harassment have to be caused by a boss or supervisor?
No. Although the role of the person sexually harassing you might affect the extent to which your employer is liable for the harassment, it does not affect your rights.
Sexual harassment is illegal, even if the harasser is a co-worker, employer client, contractor, or a non-employee.
Question #2: Should I tell the harasser to stop?
Yes, if you feel you can do so without risking harm to yourself. There are several reasons for this. For one, harassers sometimes do not understand that others find their behavior offensive or unacceptable.
Question #3: Do I need a witness for my claim to succeed?
Not necessarily. All other variables being equal, two voices are better than one and three or more are better than two when it comes to proving any allegation in court.
However, sexual harassment claims can succeed with only one “voice” or witness. If there is only one victim to act as a witness, judges and juries will consider that person’s credibility.
If the trier of fact believes the victim, that may well be enough to establish a successful claim of sexual harassment.
An attorney for sexual harassment in the workplace can help you with other questions you might have during your initial consultation.
YOUR DEDICATED LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIM LAWYERS ARE READY TO ASSIST
The zealous and dedicated team at the Workplace Rights Law Group is ready to help you recover damages for the sexual harassment you experienced as well as for any retaliation that occurred.
The sooner you contact our firm or call (818) 405-9051, the faster our sexual harassment lawyers can get started on your case. We will help you pursue your entitled compensation.
You have rights and options following an incident of workplace sexual harassment: Allow the Workplace Rights Law Group help you move forward and hold those responsible for sexually harassing you and/or failing to address your reported harassment.