Irvine Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual harassment continues to be a persistent problem throughout the United States. Every day, thousands of people across California and the rest of the country face sexual harassment in various ways. Anyone can potentially become the target of sexual harassment. This misconduct harms the victim, and no one should endure this type of mistreatment at work. Unfortunately, many people who suffer sexual harassment from their coworkers and supervisors are either not fully aware of their options for legal recourse or feel trapped by their circumstances and unable to speak out against these experiences.
Legal Representation for Irvine, CA, Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaints
If you believe you have experienced any type of sexual harassment in your workplace and your employer’s internal conflict resolution channels cannot offer suitable recourse, it’s vital to speak with an Irvine sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. The right legal team can help you determine the best way to address your sexual harassment claim, from an initial complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States Department of Labor through civil court proceedings against your employer.
California Employment Counsel, APC, has successfully guided many past clients through very challenging sexual harassment cases in the Irvine, CA, area, and we can leverage this experience in your claim. We know how daunting it can be for anyone to imagine filing a civil suit against their employer. We also know how personally challenging it can be to discuss sensitive traumatic experiences like sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment in the workplace.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
The term “sexual harassment” broadly applies to any misconduct against an individual based on their sex, sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can also apply to misconduct based on marital status or pregnancy. Some of the most commonly reported forms of sexual harassment in Irvine, CA, workplaces include:
- Unwanted sexual advances. While romantic relationships between coworkers can develop, and many employers do not prohibit these relationships, unwanted sexual advances are illegal in every US workplace. Therefore, if anyone in your workplace has made their romantic and/or sexual interest in you known and you have rejected them, they may not press with further advances. If you’re unsure whether an employer’s or coworker’s behavior qualifies as unwanted sexual advances worthy of legal action, it’s a good idea to consult an Irvine sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible.
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment. The phrase “quid pro quo” essentially translates to “this for that” or a favor for a favor. Some employers may offer job-related benefits to employees in exchange for sexual favors. They could also threaten job-related disciplinary action if the employee does not perform sexual favors. Either situation is unacceptable and worth the attention of an experienced employment attorney.
- Hostile work environment. Every employer should have some type of internal conflict resolution policy in place. For example, if you are targeted with unwanted sexual comments, jokes, or other crude behavior based on your sex, your employer has a legal obligation to stop this behavior immediately. However, if your employer is part of the problem and/or the mistreatment you’ve been experiencing interferes with your ability to work, you need to speak to an attorney about how to resolve the problem.
- Sexual battery. Some employers and coworkers will go so far as to physically touch, grope, or otherwise assault other employees. Sexual assault of any kind can not only form the basis of a sexual harassment lawsuit but also lead to severe criminal charges against the defendant. Most sexual assault in California qualifies for felony-level prosecution. The defendant faces fines, jail time, loss of constitutional rights, and mandatory sex offender registration if convicted.
- Objectionable displays in the workplace. All employers should enforce codes of conduct regarding how employees are expected to interact with one another, how they may use individually designated workspaces, and how they may use shared spaces. Unfortunately, persistent sexual banter, crude jokes, sexual gestures, and displays of pornographic materials in the workplace are just a few examples of behaviors that often go overlooked as serious sexual harassment.
- Pregnancy discrimination. Employers in the United States may not discriminate against job applicants based on pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, or perceived risk of future pregnancy. Under federal and California laws, employers are also legally forbidden from interfering with a pregnant employee’s request for legally protected medical leave.
If you believe you have grounds for any type of sexual harassment claim in Irvine, a sexual harassment attorney can assist you in building a case against the defendant responsible for your experience. However, filing a sexual harassment lawsuit is unlike filing any other type of civil claim for damages. You face a complex complaint review process through the EEOC before any civil court proceedings may unfold.
How to File a Sexual Harassment Complaint in Irvine, CA
An experienced Irvine sexual harassment attorney is the best resource to consult when you need to file an EEOC complaint for sexual harassment. The EEOC is responsible for fielding all claims of sexual harassment and other forms of employment discrimination throughout the United States. The claim process is relatively straightforward, but any errors or misunderstandings can significantly delay handling your case.
Your legal team can assist you with your complaint paperwork, completing all necessary EEOC forms, and gathering any supporting documents you need to submit with your complaint. Once the EEOC receives your complaint,it will assign an investigator to your case and update you on its progress. The EEOC is likely to contact your employer and conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain the details of your experience. If the EEOC determines your claim is valid, they will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to proceed with direct civil action against the defendant. They may also initiate disciplinary actions against the defendant, especially if your employer is responsible for the sexual harassment you experienced.
The EEOC should deliver a determination of your claim within 180 days of filing. Your attorney will assist you in building your civil case against your employer, and once you have the EEOC’s support behind your claim, the defendant is likely to seek a swift settlement. If there are any delays in handling your claim, your attorney will be the best resource for addressing them effectively so you can proceed with your recovery efforts. The EEOC has a very high success rate with court cases against defendants charged with sexual harassment and will deliver their assessment of the merits of your case once they conclude their review.
Benefits of Hiring Legal Counsel for Your Sexual Harassment Claim
Working with the right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of any sexual harassment case. When you choose California Employment Counsel, APC, to represent you, we will assist you with every phase of your case, from the initial EEOC complaint to finalizing your civil lawsuit. While there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney for a sexual harassment complaint, your attorney’s guidance and support will be invaluable as you navigate the EEOC’s handling of your claim and subsequent civil court proceedings.
Many people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace face a significant challenge when it comes to proving the truth behind their experiences. It’s common for these issues to come down to one party’s word against another’s, but it is also possible for the victim of sexual harassment in their workplace to have overlooked important evidence. Therefore, your Irvine sexual harassment attorney should carefully examine the details of your case and determine what type of evidence and testimony you will need to prove it.
Do not assume that it would not be worth your time to hire legal counsel for a sexual harassment lawsuit or that pursuing this type of civil action would be pointless. On the contrary, no one should endure sexual harassment of any kind at work. The right attorney can clarify your options for legal recourse and reveal avenues of compensation you may not have considered on your own. Additionally, if your employer fired you, denied you medical leave, or you suffered any other losses outside of lost income and the trauma of your experience, you are likely entitled to seek far more compensation than you may initially realize.
Resolving a Sexual Harassment Case in California
California state law takes sexual harassment very seriously, and any employer that knowingly violates the laws of the EEOC or the fair employment and anti-harassment laws of California faces heavy fines and other severe penalties. However, when it comes to the defendant’s liability to the victim, plaintiffs of sexual harassment claims are often surprised at the scope of compensation their attorneys can recover.
First, you have the right to seek repayment for all economic losses you incurred because of the sexual harassment you experienced. Your attorney can help you calculate these losses, such as backpay and lost benefits owed after a wrongful termination or after you were forced to quit. You can also seek the cost of job searches you were forced to undertake and any other direct financial losses incurred because of the defendant’s actions.
If the defendant engaged in any type of sexual assault or activity resulting in physical and/or psychological harm, the defendant faces liability for a civil claim for damages from the victim. A good Irvine sexual harassment attorney can not only guide you through your EEOC complaint process and help you ensure accountability for the defendant, but they can also provide invaluable legal support if you must pursue further legal recourse to recover as fully as possible from your experience.
The potential settlement you could secure from a successful sexual harassment claim could be far more substantial than you initially expected. Your successful suit could also have the added benefit of limiting the risk of others experiencing similar mistreatment in the workplace due to stricter workplace harassment policies. Finally, you have the best chance of reaching the most favorable conclusion to your sexual harassment suit when you have the right legal team handling your case.
Q: How Long Do I Have to Report Sexual Harassment in California?
A: California state law places a one-year statute of limitations on workplace sexual harassment claims, and the EEOC requires claims to be filed within 180 days of the last incident of the sexual harassment in question. It is always best to connect with a reliable attorney as soon as possible and initiate proceedings swiftly for the best chances of success.
Q: Is It Worth Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit in Irvine, CA?
A: You may wonder whether you could potentially obtain enough compensation for your sexual harassment claim to justify the cost of bringing your action. Ultimately, you have the right to seek accountability if you suffered any tangible losses and personal trauma from a coworker’s or employer’s sexual harassment. In addition, some plaintiffs may be eligible to hold defendants accountable for their legal fees and other claimed economic damages.
Q: When Should I Hire an Irvine Sexual Harassment Attorney?
A: If you have endured prolonged sexual harassment at work and are ready to take legal action, or if you are compelled to respond to an acute incident of sexual assault or any other form of sexual harassment, it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. While you have a relatively generous window of time to file your claim, it is always best to start building your case as quickly as possible for the best chance of success. In addition, the sooner you act, the easier it will be to secure the evidence and testimony needed to solidify your claim.
California Employment Counsel, APC, excels at employment disputes in California, and our team has represented many past clients in complex sexual harassment claims against employers and coworkers in all industries. We know the challenges you face as you head into the EEOC complaint process and the best ways of building a strong sexual harassment suit. To explore your legal options with the help of an experienced Irvine sexual harassment attorney, contact California Employment Counsel, APC, today and schedule your case evaluation with our team.