Every American employee has the right to work without experiencing sexual harassment of any kind. Unfortunately, every year thousands of American employees suffer sexual harassment at work. While some are subjected to sexual commentary and unwanted sexual advances, others are faced with more severe sexual harassment, including sexual assault and wrongful termination due to their refusal to submit to a manager or employers’ sexual advances.
No matter the type, no sexual harassment is tolerable in the workplace. A Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can provide the legal counsel and support you need to hold an employer accountable for any sexual harassment you experience at work. Specifically, the lawyers at Park APC can provide the representation you need in pursuing a sexual harassment claim against your employer. Our team has the resources and experience you need to help you determine the full scope of the damages you experienced and hold your employer responsible for their illegal behavior.
The term “sexual harassment” applies to any situation in which an employee is subjected to unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace. It is important to note that sexual harassment is not just physical touching. Sexual harassment can take many forms, including:
A victim of sexual harassment does not have to be the person directly involved in the incident. Anyone who witnessed the sexual harassment or is required to work in a sexually hostile environment may have a sexual harassment claim under both state and federal law.
California employers are expected to create and enforce anti-sexual harassment policies for their workforces. Unfortunately, not all employers enforce their own sexual harassment rules—worse, many of these employers use their positions of authority to engage in sexual harassment against their own employees.
Some of the most cited forms of sexual harassment in Los Angeles, CA workplaces include:
If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment in your workplace, the internal conflict resolution channels available to you may not offer relief. In fact, in many cases, the parties involved in those conflict resolution channels are responsible for the sexual harassment an employee experienced. A Los Angeles employment law attorney can provide the guidance and representation you need in this type of difficult situation.
Sexual harassment can arise from a variety of people in your workplace, including:
The difficulty of your case can be affected by the position of the offending employee. It is much easier to hold a company liable for an individual’s conduct if the company employs that individual. Some types of behavior can only be committed by people who hold specific positions. For example, a co-worker is rarely able to commit quid pro quo harassment because they are not often in a position with leverage or power. Therefore, a supervisor most often commits quid pro quo sexual harassment because they have decision-making power over the sexual harassment victim and the leverage to pressure a worker into sexual favors.
Sexual harassment is also not specific to any one gender, nor is it specific to people of opposite genders. Gone are the times when the public assumed a masculine person could not be sexually harassed and that sexual harassment only occurred from a man to a woman. California law is responsive to the complexities of gender and sexual identities that can arise in the workplace.
Although it is more difficult, a company can be held liable if a third party sexually harasses an employee. The employee must prove the employer should have known or knew about the harassment and that they failed to take appropriate and immediate corrective action. For example, if a package delivery person flirts with an employee and the company takes no action, even after being told multiple times about the harassment, the company can be held liable.
Both sexual harassment and sexual assault are serious offenses, but they are handled differently because they fall under different areas of the law. There are also very different consequences for each.
Sexual harassment is a broad term. Any unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, as well as any other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, is considered sexual harassment. It often occurs in a professional setting, like a school or a workplace, where there are additional policies and standards to discourage this negative behavior. It is dealt with as a workplace civil rights issue, so these cases are handled in civil court instead of criminal court. These situations are usually resolved with financial compensation, policy changes, and the perpetrator losing their position in the organization.
Sexual assault, or sexual battery, is a much more specific offense than sexual harassment. It involves intentional sexual contact made through intimidation, force, or abuse of authority. Being touched without consent is the crucial component of the crime. Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching (kissing, groping, touching, etc.), rape, lewd acts, and statutory rape. It can also include the victim being forced to touch their assailant, or situations where the victim cannot fully consent to the sexual activity. Sexual assault is prosecuted in criminal court, and those convicted can end up with a criminal record, jail sentence, and financial penalties. These charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. The victim can also file a civil suit, separate from the criminal case, to recover any damages they may have incurred because of the offense.
Sexual harassment can become sexual assault, depending on the circumstances and severity of the offense. If you are unsure whether your case falls under sexual harassment or assault, speaking with an attorney can help you understand your options for recompense and justice.
When you have experienced sexual harassment of any kind while in the workplace, it is natural to feel isolated and distressed when it comes to determining your best available options for addressing the situation. Hiring a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer will allow you to approach the situation with greater confidence and understanding. Park APC knows how traumatic it can be for any employee to face sexual harassment at work. As a result, we will do what is necessary to navigate the complex legal process required for holding your harasser and/or employer accountable for your negative experiences.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States is the government agency tasked with investigating claims of harassment and discrimination in American workplaces. If you intend to take legal action against the party or parties responsible for the sexual harassment you experienced, you will need to begin by filing a claim with the EEOC. You will also need to file a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Both offices will investigate your claim, and if their investigation concludes that you did indeed experience sexual harassment of any kind, the agency will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue, allowing you to take legal action against your employer.
A sexual harassment lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires, but there are a few different timelines to keep in mind. EEOC filings must be made within 180 days of the most recent instance of sexual harassment. A filing with the DFEH must generally be completed within three years of the most recent incident of sexually harassing behavior. Once the agency has issued you a Notice of Right to Sue, you have one year to file the lawsuit. It is vital for your case that you do not miss any of these deadlines, as it will likely prevent you from filing your sexual harassment case.
Routes of retaliation that your employer can take after you file a sexual harassment suit can include: wrongful termination, reduction in hours of employment, demotion, denial of a deserved raise or bonus, less favorable conditions of employment, or relocation to a different department.
All these behaviors are illegal, and your employer can be held liable if they retaliate using these methods. If they are, you can meticulously document all the behaviors by gathering evidence through photos, copies of internal correspondence, and statements from other employees. Thorough documentation will help your attorney prove retaliation and can award you just compensation for their abusive intimidation tactics.
The EEOC claim process is far more difficult than many people realize. In addition, finding the evidence you must provide to substantiate and support your claim can be difficult without professional legal guidance. In circumstances where the sexual advances are welcome, sexual harassment cannot be claimed. It can be difficult to prove that the attention was not wanted without the expert assistance of an experienced attorney. A Los Angeles employment law attorney is an invaluable asset for this process. Your legal team will help you file the EEOC claim and can assist you in locating correspondence with your employer, witness testimony, and any other available evidence that will help you substantiate your sexual harassment claim. Your Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can also handle correspondence with EEOC representatives on your behalf until the EEOC concludes their investigation.
Once you have a Right to Sue notice in place, your Los Angeles employment lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the sexual harassment you experienced. Before beginning this process, it is important to know that you may secure several types of compensation based on the damages you sustained from the harassment. For example, if your employer denied you a promotion or pay increase because you refused their sexual advances, or if you were wrongfully terminated following sexual harassment, you could secure compensation for your lost income and lost benefits. You can also hold the defendant responsible for your legal fees and may even receive statutory damages depending on the severity of your experience. An experienced attorney can help you determine all the damages that you may be eligible for to ensure that you are justly compensated for the abuse that you endured.
Park APC understands how frustrating and isolating it can be to experience sexual harassment of any kind. If you feel powerless and fear your situation is hopeless, it is vital to connect with a Los Angeles employment law attorney who can guide you through the legal proceedings necessary to hold your harasser accountable for their actions. If you are ready to discuss your options for legal recourse after experiencing any form of sexual harassment, contact Park APC and schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer.