Victims of sexual harassment can feel uncomfortable and vulnerable in the workplace, oftentimes to the point that it affects their ability to work. Sexual harassment is not only an offensive, harmful behavior that should never occur in the workplace but also a form of discrimination. If you or your fellow coworkers are being sexually harassed in your Torrance workplace, speak with our Torrance sexual harassment attorneys to learn about filing a claim.
Compassionate Legal Aid for Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment
At California Employment Counsel, APC, our practiced employment lawyers are devoted to protecting Torrance employees from harmful workplace behaviors like sexual harassment. We work to provide our clients with the resources, guidance, and representation needed to hold their employers accountable and achieve positive outcomes. While taking legal action against your employer may be intimidating, you can trust our team to protect your interests and your rights.
What Is Considered Workplace Sexual Harassment in Torrance?
There are a combination of state and federal laws that make sexual harassment unlawful. These laws define sexual harassment as any form of unwanted sexual advances, invitations, gestures, or other lewd behaviors that make an employee uncomfortable. Any person of any gender can be a victim of sexual harassment or assault. If you are being sexually harassed by your employer, manager, or fellow coworker, you have the right to file an employment claim against them.
Sexual harassment is also a form of discrimination that targets the physical appearance or protected characteristics of an employee. To harass an employee for these traits is illegal, regardless of whether they were motivated by sexual desire. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of ways, ranging from unwanted physical conduct to nonstop jokes of a sexual nature.
How Does the Law Categorize Sexual Harassment?
While sexual harassment in Torrance, CA can come in many forms, employment laws generally categorize each workplace sexual harassment case into one of two categories:
Quid Pro Quo Harassment “Quid pro quo” is a Latin term that translates to “something for something” or a “favor for a favor.” This form of sexual harassment takes place when any employee of high standing conditions benefits, wages, jobs, or other employment decisions based on sexual favors. For instance, if an employer refuses to hire an applicant unless they agree to provide sexual favors in return for their spot, this qualifies as quid pro quo harassment in Torrance.
Hostile Work Environment Harassment When unwanted sexual behaviors begin to impact an employee’s ability to do their job or feel comfortable at work, this creates what is known as a “hostile work environment.” Any kind of persistent lewd comments, unwanted advances, and other sexual behaviors that make an employee feel threatened or vulnerable can qualify as hostile work environment harassment.
However, proving this kind of harassment can be more difficult if you have only been harassed on one occasion. This is because a hostile work environment generally occurs from consistent pestering and harassment. If you’re unsure whether your situation is considered quid pro quo sexual harassment, ask one of our Torrance employment attorneys for assistance.
What Sexual Harassment Can Look Like in the Workplace
It’s important that you know what common behaviors qualify as sexual harassment so that you can protect yourself and your coworkers against them. Below are some of the most common forms of workplace sexual harassment.
Generally speaking, verbal sexual harassment occurs when one employee makes another employee uncomfortable through verbal comments and advances.
Verbal sexual harassment can come in a myriad of forms, such as:
Joking about an employee’s sex life
Consistent, unwanted sexual advances
Persistent invitations for sexual favors or dates that have been declined
Lewd comments about an employee’s appearance
Derogatory comments about an employee’s appearance or personal life
Sexual comments made to intimidate an employee
Physical sexual harassment occurs when an individual uses physical conduct that is sexually motivated against another employee. This can entail unwanted touching but can quickly escalate to sexual assault, depending on how severe the conduct is. Physical sexual harassment can commonly look like the following actions:
A fellow coworker backing an employee into a corner and demanding sexual favors.
A supervisor rubbing their employee’s back while watching them work on their computer.
A manager grabbing the arms of an employee so they can’t leave after denying a date.
Displays of Explicit Content
Sexual harassment can be more than just unwanted verbal and physical gestures. Unfortunately, sometimes, other employees use displays of lewd content to intimidate their coworkers or make them feel uncomfortable. Any display of photos, videos, calendars, or websites that display explicit content can all qualify as sexual harassment in Torrance.
Threatening Employees / Conditioning Benefits for Sexual Favors
It is unlawful for any employee of high standing to leverage a job or benefits for sexual favors. For example, an employer cannot deny an employee the same promotion other coworkers receive just because they will not exchange sexual favors. It is also illegal for an employee of high standing to threaten to demote or terminate an employee when they deny sexual advances. Any form of sexual harassment that involves your job’s status tends to be quid pro quo harassment.
What Is the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?
While they are often confused, it’s imperative that every Torrance employee understands the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault. The biggest difference between the two is that sexual harassment tends to involve unwelcome sexual behaviors directed toward someone, most of which are not physical, whereas sexual assault involves unwanted contact or physical conduct that is sexually motivated.
Being sexually assaulted is a traumatic experience that no one should have to endure, especially in their place of work. When someone has been assaulted repeatedly, the situation may then qualify as sexual abuse. If you have been harassed or assaulted in your Torrance workplace, do not wait to protect yourself and take legal action as soon as you can. Our assault attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim and advocate for you along the way.
The Importance of Retaining a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Torrance
Too many employees are scared of filing sexual harassment claims against their employers because they’re worried they’ll be punished. However, it is absolutely critical that you pursue legal justice when you have been harmed by sexual harassment, even when you’re intimidated. By hiring an employment attorney, you can trust that your interests and your rights will be protected, regardless of how aggressive your employer and their legal team may be.
When you work with a sexual harassment lawyer, you give yourself a stronger chance of filing a successful claim and negotiating a settlement that benefits you. Because many employers have powerful legal teams on retainer, working with an attorney also provides you with strong representation if your situation becomes contentious. No matter how severe your Torrance sexual harassment case may be, we implore you to seek help from a skilled attorney before filing a claim.
How to Take Legal Action After Being Sexually Harassed in Torrance
If you are a victim of workplace sexual assault in Torrance, you can file an official complaint against your employer through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To do so, you can follow the steps below.
Report the Incident to Your Employer: You should always report incidents of sexual harassment to your employer as soon as they occur. This way, there is documentation of the situation, and your employer is aware.
Retain a Sexual Harassment Attorney: To ensure that you have a fair case against your employer, it’s helpful to retain a sexual harassment attorney. We can help you file your claim, guide you through your proceedings, and defend you during hearings.
Collect Evidence That Proves the Incident Took Place: When you file any kind of employment claim, you’ll need to include as much detail as possible about the incident that occurred. By collecting evidence such as inappropriate emails, texts, voicemails, and other records, you can better back your claim.
File Your Official Complaint: Once you and your lawyer feel comfortable with the claim you’ve built, you can work together to file your official complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC. This claim should be delivered in person, through the mail, or online if you’re given the option.
Wait to See if Your Claim Is Accepted: Unlike criminal trials, employment claims must be accepted by the agency to which you submitted them in order for your case to be reviewed. If your case is accepted, it will then move into settlement proceedings.
How a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Torrance Can Help
Navigating the legal system can be difficult, especially for those who are not familiar with it. Many steps must be completed in a timely manner, extensive documentation to keep track of, and legal processes must be followed. An experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney can make the process easier by offering three key supports.
Education. An accomplished sexual harassment attorney has dedicated years of their life to learning and understanding the laws surrounding workplace harassment. They work to ensure that they are up to date on any changes in the laws or statutes that may impact their clients or cases. This education gives them the knowledge they need to ensure that they can create the most solid case for each client.
Experience. A Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney with extensive experience will be an invaluable resource as you navigate your claim. An experienced attorney who has worked with a wide variety of clients will have a unique perspective and approach for each case. They have seen approaches that are successful and others that are unsuccessful. Their experience with past clients will help them to analyze and assess the specifics of your case so they can create an approach that will ensure the most favorable outcome for your case.
Guidance. The prospect of navigating the legal system without any support or guidance can be daunting. If you are not familiar with how the system works, it can be overwhelming trying to complete any claim successfully. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can walk you through your entire case and help make the process easier. They will have the knowledge and insight to help you choose the correct course of action. They can provide understanding and support when your claim is particularly difficult and resources to help you file and complete your claim successfully.
Choosing to pursue legal action as the result of sexual harassment in the workplace can be scary. You may face retaliation from coworkers or supervisors, and you may lose your income if you are forced to leave your job. The knowledge, experience, and support of an accomplished Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney can give you peace of mind as your case is processed.
Contact a Torrance Sexual Harassment Attorney With Experience Today
At California Employment Counsel, APC, our firm is founded on the belief that every employee deserves to be treated with respect and consideration. Sexual harassment is a harmful behavior that should always be addressed, especially when it begins to harm your mental health or your ability to work. Contact our team of lawyers at California Employment Counsel, APC, for representation during a sexual harassment claim in Torrance.
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