When you go to work, you deserve to be respected and treated fairly. Sexual harassment is an ongoing issue that puts many employees in uncomfortable and sometimes even threatening positions. This can ultimately affect their ability to work and leave them feeling vulnerable without help from a mistreatment lawyer. If you or your coworkers are victims of sexual harassment in your San Pedro workplace, talk to our San Pedro sexual harassment attorneys.
Empathetic, Effective Sexual Harassment Representation
With cases involving behavior like sexual harassment, many employees are too intimidated to take legal action due to fear of being retaliated against. That’s why our firm created a team of accomplished employment attorneys who are committed to advocating for the rights of California workers. It’s crucial that you remember that the state’s employment laws protect you from a variety of harmful behaviors, including sexual harassment.
At California Employment Counsel, APC, our adept employment lawyers have worked through a wide range of challenging cases, including workplace sexual harassment and retaliation claims. We empathize with the stress employees feel in these situations and are prepared to offer effective guidance, advice, and representation. For legal representation that prioritizes the needs of San Pedro employees, talk to our team at California Employment Counsel, APC.
Understanding Sexual Harassment in California Workplaces
Workplace sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, jokes, comments, or other sexually-related behaviors that are directed toward an employee. Legally speaking, sexual harassment is also a form of discrimination because it targets the appearance or protected characteristics of a worker. Both federal laws, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and state laws, like California’s labor code, protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace.
There are two primary categories into which workplace sexual harassment is separated. They are known as:
Quid Pro Quo The term “quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that means “a favor for a favor” or “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer or individual in power promises an employee benefits or uses their job as leverage for sexual favors. For example, if an employer will only promote their employee if that employee agrees to go on a date with them, this is quid quo pro sexual harassment.
Hostile Work Environment “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment occurs when unwanted sexual advances and comments begin to interfere and intimidate the employee being victimized. Generally, it is considered a hostile work environment if these sexual behaviors are so consistent and prominent that an employee begins to suffer. However, a one-off instance of sexual harassment may not always be enough to qualify for a hostile work environment claim.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Whether you’re the employee being treated poorly or you’ve noticed your coworker is being harassed, it’s imperative that all San Pedro employees recognize what sexual harassment looks like so that you can protect each other. The following are just a handful of ways that sexual harassment occurs in the workplace:
Unwanted Sexual Advances
An “unwanted sexual advance” refers to any persistent invitations or advances directed toward an employee who consistently denies them. For example, if a manager will not stop asking their employee to sleep with them, no matter how many times the employee has refused, this is an unwanted sexual advance and qualifies as workplace harassment. If that manager then fires the employee for denying the advances or reporting them, this is wrongful termination.
Inappropriate Comments and Jokes
An individual doesn’t always have to directly ask for sexual favors for their behavior to be considered workplace sexual harassment. If an employee or individual in power consistently makes lewd, offensive, and inappropriate comments about an employee or a specific group of people, this is also classified as sexual harassment. Sexually explicit jokes, comments about someone’s physical appearance, and sexual orientation discrimination are all forms of inappropriate behavior and harassment in the workplace.
Physical Conduct Without Consent
No matter how high up an employee may be, it is unlawful for them to physically touch their employees in a sexual way. Unwanted physical conduct can come in a variety of forms, ranging from a manager rubbing their employee’s back when they walk by to an employee blocking their coworker into a corner and attempting to touch them. If anyone in your San Pedro workplace has used physical conduct to harass you, you should talk to our employment lawyers immediately.
Threatening an Employee to Receive Sexual Favors
When an employer, manager, or individual in a position of power threatens to demote or fire an employee unless they agree to a sexual favor, this is quid pro quo sexual harassment. It is illegal for an employer to condition their employee’s job based on sexual requests or refuse to promote an employee if they disagree. If your boss is currently trying to condition your career or your benefits based on sexual favors, seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
Displaying Lewd Content
It is unlawful to display lewd, offensive, or inappropriate content in the workplace, regardless of whether or not it is directed at someone. If an employee has inappropriate photos, videos, or other lewd content that bothers others, objectifies them, or is blatantly too sexual, you may be able to file a workplace sexual harassment claim against them in San Pedro.
What Should You Do if You’re Being Sexually Harassed at Your Work in San Pedro?
Sexual harassment is a harmful and offensive behavior that has no place in any work environment. If you or a coworker are victims of workplace sexual harassment in San Pedro, follow these steps to file a claim and hold your employer accountable:
File an Official Report with Your Employer To ensure your employer and human resource department are aware of the conduct taking place, you need to file an official report with them as soon as you begin being harassed. Filing a report is not only important so that the harmful behavior is addressed but also so that you have evidence moving forward if you have to file a claim.
Bring Your Situation to an Employment Attorney Whether it’s clear that you’re being sexually harassed or you’re unsure if your situation qualifies as sexual harassment, bring your case to a proficient harassment attorney who can evaluate everything for you. If your lawyer believes you have a sufficient sexual harassment-based claim, they can then assist you with the legal proceedings that follow.
Begin Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim Before you can file a formal employment claim, you need to collect evidence that helps to demonstrate the exact behavior that has impacted you. Photos, videos, text messages, emails, and your HR report can all make strong evidence if you’re able to collect them. Working with an attorney can also help to ensure you gather as much evidence as possible to prove your side of the story.
File Your Formal Sexual Harassment Claim When you file your formal sexual harassment claim, you will either file through California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or through the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you’re unsure which is right for your case, your attorney can guide you through the filing process and ensure you handle everything properly. In some cases, you may be able to submit your claim online, but it is generally done by mail or in person.
Wait for a Response to See if Your Claim Is Accepted After you submit your claim, the agency you sent it to will evaluate it and decide whether legal action is needed. If they accept your claim and decide to move forward, you will most likely have a hearing with your employer once they respond. During this hearing, you and your employer will discuss your claims and negotiate a settlement.
Why You Need a Sexual Harassment Lawyer on Your Side
Taking any kind of legal action against an employer is never an easy decision. However, you deserve the chance to hold the people who have hurt you and your career accountable. Working with an employment attorney is one of the most effective ways you can help yourself and your San Pedro sexual harassment case.
By retaining a sexual harassment attorney, you can receive compassionate guidance through the various proceedings of your case, as well as impressive representation to protect your rights. At California Employment Counsel, APC, you can trust that our attorneys can put you first no matter what. We know that filing a claim against your employer is daunting, and we’re prepared to defend you against the intimidating aspects that come with doing so.
Don’t Wait to Take Action After Being Sexually Harassed in San Pedro
No one should ever feel unsafe in their workplace because of other people’s behavior. While filing a sexual harassment claim may seem frightening, our team of passionate employment lawyers is prepared to guide you every step of the way. Do not wait to hold your employer accountable if you have been sexually harassed in your San Pedro workplace.