Sexual harassment in the workplace is a growing concern. Sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment for everyone, this includes non-victims. Employers are supposed to have measures in place to prevent harassment. Sometimes, even with these policies harassment can occur.
Any person, who feels as if they are being sexually harassed, has the right to pursue compensation. If you feel as if you are being sexually harassed, it is recommended that you seek a practiced employment law attorney. The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC are passionate about helping victims of sexual harassment. We understand that being subjected to abuse because of sex or gender can make the victim feel helpless and without any sort of self-worth. We want to guide you through this legal process so you can begin moving past this. The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC file claims for sexual harassment throughout the California Central District Court and adjoining cities including Visalia, Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach.
Sexual harassment can do long-lasting damage to the victim, company, employer, and others. Do not wait another moment for peace of mind. Call (844) 291-1911 or submit an online contact form today.
Los Angeles Lawyer for Sexual Harassment Claims, CA
Sexual harassment incorporates many scenarios. Unwelcome sexual advances are the most common, however, sexual harassment can incorporate inappropriate jokes, derogatory comments regarding gender, harassment regarding sexual orientation and more. No person should have to handle emotional abuse in the workplace. If you are being sexually harassed contact the attorneys at [frim].
The workplace harassment lawyers at Yarian & Associates, APC have decades of experience practicing employment law. We are determined advocates for abused employees and strive to do our best to get them justice. Our attorneys approach our clients with the utmost attention and care. Sexual harassment is not something to let lie and can become an even more serious problem over time. Act now and call an attorney at Yarian & Associates, APC. We represent clients throughout the greater Los Angeles County and Tulare County area including Visalia, Long Beach, Riverside, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Irvine.
Do not let yourself be demeaned any longer. Dial (844) 291-1911 or schedule an online appointment for a free consultation today.
Overview of Sexual Harassment Claims in California
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is much broader than many people realize. Unwelcome sexual advances, touching, pressure to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship and other commonly-recognized types of harassment make up only a fraction of sexual harassment cases.
Sexual harassment may also involve derogatory comments about a person’s gender or sexual orientation, exposure to inappropriate jokes and other commentaries that makes the person uncomfortable. It can be characterized as unwelcome behavior that is based on sex, gender or sexual orientation that creates a hostile work environment.
The many varieties of sexual harassment fall into two broad categories: quid pro quo sexual harassment and behaviors that create a hostile work environment.
In a quid pro quo harassment situation, the harasser may offer a promotion, salary increase or other workplace incentives in exchange for sexual favors. Alternatively, the harasser may fire or demote a subordinate, threaten such actions, or otherwise harm or threaten to harm the career of a subordinate who refuses sexual advances.
Hostile work environment cases occur when an employee is harassed because of sex, gender, orientation, or gender expression. Some examples of hostile work environment behavior include making sexual jokes, making obscene remarks about a person’s body, touching another person in inappropriate ways such a kissing or hugging without their consent, or displaying sexually explicit material in the workplace.
A few examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
- Using derogatory comments, epithets or slurs;
- Making sexual gestures;
- Unwanted sexual advances (such as date requests, kiss requests, requests for inappropriate clothing, romantic gifts, marriage proposals and more);
- Actual or threatened retaliation;
- Invasion of personal space;
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors;
- Physical touching or assault;
- Impeding or blocking movements;
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters;
- Making “jokes” sexual in nature or general teasing due to gender;
- Comments that are sexual in nature;
- Constant sex stories or discussions;
- Sexually degrading words used to describe an individual;
- Obscene writings;
- Suggestive letters, notes, or invitations; and
- Graphic comments about an individual’s body (this includes unnecessary compliments about an individual’s body parts).
California Hostile Work Environment Law
Victims of sexual harassment are predominantly women. However, men can also be sexually harassed. The harasser and the victim can be of the same sex or of opposite sexes. The harasser can be a manager, supervisor, owner, or co-worker within the company. Every form of harassment should be reported and handled internally within the company.
The laws regarding sexual harassment apply to for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, employment agencies, and local, state and federal government agencies. Californian Government Code § 12940-12951 states that it is the employer’s responsibility to monitor and rectify any sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, some may have exhausted these options and experienced pushback. In these cases, it is best to gain legal counsel. Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace may be entitled to monetary damages.
In addition to this, California Labor Code § 1102.5 states that all employees are protected from retaliation when investigating or pursuing legal action regarding sexual harassment. This means that even if your employer reacts negatively to your report, they are not legally allowed to wrongfully terminate or suspend you.
The laws regarding sexual harassment apply to for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, employment agencies, and local, state and federal government agencies.
Employer’s Responsibilities for Workplace Harassment in California
Employers, in California, are required to enforce a productive harassment-free workplace. An employer is violating the law if he or she allows preventable sexual harassment. The responsibility of the employer is to take immediate and appropriate corrective action once they know about harassing conduct.
California law states that companies with 50 or more employees are obligated to provide sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees. The training must last at the least two hours, and every newly assumed supervisor must complete the training within six months. Sexual harassment training must be given once every two years to company supervisors.
A sexual harassment training course in California must include:
- Information about the prevention and correction of abusive conduct;
- Examples of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation;
- Components and resources directed towards the reduction of bullying or harassment in general;
- Information and practical guidance about federal and state laws; and
- Information about the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment.
Alongside sexual harassment training, employers in California must develop a written policy regarding the prevention of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation. Every employee must have this policy. A sexual harassment policy is required to include the following:
- List all protected categories covered under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA);
- Information about California law prohibiting coworkers, third parties, supervisors, and managers from engaging in practices unlawful under FEHA;
- Outlines a complaint process;
- The complaint process must have a way to report offending conduct without complaining directly to a supervisor;
- Supervisors are required to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative. This is so the company can handle it internally;
- A fair, timely, and thorough investigation must be conducted if an employer receives allegations of conduct. All parties must have appropriate due process and employers must make reasonable conclusions based on evidence;
- An investigation is not required to be completely confidential. However, every complaint of misconduct must be confidential with the employer;
- If the investigation discovers offending conduct, an appropriate remedial measure must be taken; and
- Employees shall not be exposed to retaliation as a result of lodging a complaint or participating in any workplace investigation.
Employers, if they do not have informational documents, are also required to distribute a sexual harassment brochure or information sheet from FEHA.
However, employers are responsible for maintaining a work environment free of sexual harassment, and so may be liable even when the harasser is someone who doesn’t work for the company, such as a client or customer.
What to Do If You’re Harassed?
If you feel you have been sexually harassed while at work, you should take the time to educate yourself about your options. The sexual harassment claim process can be complicated. You may be required to pursue remedies within your company and/or with government agencies such as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) before filing a lawsuit.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, here are some actions you can consider to protect yourself.
- Document It – Documentation is your biggest ally. Keep a notebook on you, and write the details of the offending conduct. Be sure to include the harasser’s name, a thorough description of the event, and the date and time.
- Report It – Head to your supervisor or human resources department. Often, your supervisor will end the harassment before it escalates any further. Make sure that your report is in writing and filed. If possible, keep a copy of the harassment report in case you need to file a claim.
- Follow Your Employer’s Procedures – Your supervisor or employer has steps they must take to handle a sexual harassment report. Be sure to keep up with these processes and visit your employee handbook to see what else you can do. If your employer has not responded properly, consider legal counsel.
Understand that there are strict deadlines for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. An employee who wants to file a claim against their employer must head to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Employees must file a claim no later than one year from the date of the alleged violation.
Once the DFEH has finished reviewing your claim they will send you a right-to-sue letter you have one year to file a lawsuit in civil court. The statute begins on the date the right-to-sue letter was sent.
Keep in mind if you are an employee filing a claim under federal law, the statutes will be different altogether. Normally, the federal statute of limitations is much shorter. It is best to get in contact with a lawyer when filing a claim against an employer.
Damages for Sexual Harassment Claims
If the actions of the harasser interfere with a person’s job performance, result in an intimidating work environment, or have negative practical effects such as termination, demotion, or transfer, then the victim may be entitled to compensation.
Among other damages, employers could be subject to pay for the following:
- Repaying employee’s attorney fees;
- Interest on the amounts won as a result of a lawsuit;
- Punitive damages meant to punish their employer for their wrongdoing;
- Compensation for the employee’s pain or suffering;
- Paying damages equal to the amount of money the employee may have lost from. For example, a wrongful termination, the refusal to promote an employee, or unequal pay;
- Paying the employee’s backpack, contributing to the employee’s retirement funds, or giving the employee other amounts that are meant to compensate them for all the harm caused by the unlawful acts; and
- Interest on the amounts won as a result of a lawsuit.
What is Sexual Harassment? – Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the world’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Hotline and is partnered with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the county. Read an article detailing what sexual harassment looks like and why harassment occurs.
Sexual Harassment – Visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and see the legal definition of sexual harassment. Read about facts about sexual harassment, policies and guidance, statistics, and statutes considering offending conduct in a workplace.
Sexual Harassment FAQ – Visit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) and read their frequently asked questions regarding harassment in the workplace. Read what the California harassment training requirements, which employees do employers have to train, what FEHA defines sexual harassment and California’s harassment policy.
Talk to a Sexual Harassment Lawyer Right Away
If you or a family member has been the victim of sexual harassment or other types of harassment while in the workplace, you should talk to an employment law attorney to learn more about your rights under state and federal law.
At Yarian & Associates, APC, we have been very successful in helping people who have been affected by workplace harassment. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and learn more about your workplace rights. Our civil harassment attorneys have years of experience handling workplace laws. We are compassionate about upholding employee rights and want to be your partner in this process. Yarian & Associates, APC files claims for Californians all throughout the greater Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan area and other adjoining communities including Visalia, Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, Glendale, Santa Monica, and Pasadena.
Our layers for harassment and discrimination cover all kinds of employers including, but not limited to:
- Big box retailers
- Auto dealerships
- Phone companies
- Fortune 500 companies
- Law firms
- Aerospace companies
- Major restaurant chains
- Phone companies
- Major retailers
- Public agencies
- Government agencies
- Medical practices, etc…
Isolated incidents of careless or offensive remarks or conduct are never acceptable. Protect yourself with an experienced workplace harassment lawyer. Call (844) 291-1911 or submit an online contact form today.
This article was last updated on June 20th, 2018.