Venice Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Sexual harassment has no place at work. Still, there are some situations where it does occur. It can take many different forms, but your employer has a responsibility to address them, and failing to do so could be grounds for a claim against your employer. Venice sexual harassment attorneys can help employees who’ve faced sexual harassment at work seek recourse for what they’ve suffered.

Venice Sexual Harassment Attorneys

We Know How to Handle These Complex Issues for Employees

Our team of defense lawyers at California Employment Counsel, APC, is well-versed in handling complex employee issues, including sexual harassment concerns. We understand, too, that this issue can sometimes be challenging for people to discuss and address. We will treat the situation with sensitivity and provide you with the care you deserve. We are ready to help you understand your options for recourse if you’ve faced sexual harassment at work.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Sexual harassment in the workplace can come in a variety of forms and from a few different sources, whether co-workers, managers, other authority figures, or even customers and business partners. Generally, sexual harassment refers to unwanted advances of a sexual nature, sexual conduct that can be physical or verbal, or requests for sexual favors. There are a few kinds of sexual harassment that you may experience in the workplace.

It’s important to realize that the victims of sexual harassment could be anyone, male or female. There may be some cultural sense that sexual harassment skews one way or the other or is different based on sex. The law does not discriminate, and sexual harassment needs to be addressed regardless of the demographics of the victim.

Harassment Doesn’t Have to Be Sexual to be Harassment

California also notes that harassment does not necessarily need to be sexual in nature but rather can be based on sex. In other words, the conduct could not be sexually suggestive but rather be targeted at an individual because of their sex or gender. This happens most often when there is a workplace of workers mostly belonging to one gender, some of whom bully one of the workers of the other gender.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase referring to the idea of a this for that kind of exchange. This involves an employee being propositioned for sexual favors by someone with some ability or authority to make decisions regarding employment or roles within the establishment. Occasionally, it could be something like another employee offering not to report a violation of policy in exchange for sexual favors, but in most cases, it will involve a supervisor.

The kinds of things that may be offered to the employee include some kind of positive benefits, such as being hired, promoted, or receiving better compensation. It could also be avoiding a negative outcome, such as not being fired or facing disciplinary action in exchange for sexual benefits. Any of these kinds of exchanges or attempts to exchange are not allowed. If you believe this may have been proposed to you, it’s important that you contact our team.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Another form of sexual harassment that someone may experience in the workplace is hostile work environment sexual harassment. This could occur in a variety of ways, but the general idea is that the work environment is one that a reasonable person would find to be offensive, hostile, or otherwise intimidating because of sexual conduct that is unwelcome. This could be something directed at the employee or something that is generally occurring.

Many different behaviors could constitute creating a hostile work environment. A worker also does not need to be the target of behavior for it to be an issue either, as the harassing behavior occurring in their vicinity can be considered an issue. Some of the kinds of behaviors that could be considered harassment include:

  • Sexual assault or groping.
  • Sexually explicit language.
  • Stalking behavior.
  • Repeatedly pressuring for a date.
  • Sexual comments, discussion, or jokes.
  • Sexual images being posted or sent electronically.
  • Other unwanted sexually related conduct or behavior.

Consent Does Not Mean the Conduct Is Welcome

An important component of proving that something is sexual harassment is establishing that the conduct was unwelcome. In some cases, an employer may try to argue that the behaviors and actions were not unwelcome because the employee consented to the conduct. However, it’s important to recognize that they are not the same thing. In many cases, an employee may feel pressured to consent, even if the conduct is not welcomed.

There is, though, often a necessity for the employee to have challenged the unwelcome conduct. For instance, if a group is showing sexually suggestive images, they are going to have a harder time claiming harassment if they also participate. One of the important aspects of what your lawyer may need to do is to be able to show that the conduct was unwelcome.

The Reasonable Person Standard

The conduct sampling being unwelcome is not necessarily enough to constitute sexual harassment. There is an understanding in the law that different people have different perceptions and thresholds for what may be considered to be offensive and harassment. As much as possible, laws are designed to be objective. This is because the standards should be consistent and predictable so that people can avoid violating them.

For something like the offensive nature of conduct, it’s hard to establish a defined standard. What the law has settled on is the idea that the conduct must have been offensive to a reasonable person. In other words, if the person claiming harassment were to have been replaced by any reasonable person in the circumstances, they would have felt that there was harassment involved.

The reasonable person standard does attempt to take in the full extent of the situation. The background of the parties involved can be considered, including whether or not there was any past sexual harassment or assault in a person’s history.

Sexual Harassment Must be Pervasive or Severe

Sexual harassment can take two different forms under California law. In some cases, the conduct can be particularly severe as to constitute sexual harassment. This is the only way that a single action can be considered sexual harassment. For instance, sometimes sexual assault is usually severe enough to have constituted sexual harassment.

The other way that conduct can be considered harassment is if it is pervasive. Most sexual harassment will generally fall into this category. This is behavior that occurs repeatedly in a way that creates a hostile work environment. For instance, a single instance of a sexual joke may not necessarily constitute sexual harassment. However, if someone is repeatedly telling a sexual joke every day, that could be considered harassment.

What Is the Responsibility of Your Employer Regarding Sexual Harassment?

An employer is responsible for the culture and tone of the workplace that they provide for their employees. What they tolerate will often pervade the culture. This is why employers can be held accountable for the sexual harassment that occurs within their companies.

The responsibility of employers can be described in several different ways, but one of the most important is to address any complaints of harassment. Too often, sexual harassment concerns are overlooked by employers. This can lead to the conduct continuing or even potentially getting worse.

If concerns of harassment are brought to an employer, they have a responsibility to take appropriate measures to address the situation. Depending on the behavior, it could mean reprimanding and disciplining whoever participated in the harassment. It could mean moving their work location in a way that decreases the interactions with whoever filed the complaint. In some cases, it may even be that firing the employee is the appropriate measure.

How employers handle these kinds of issues is critical for setting a tone for their company and creating a culture that doesn’t tolerate harassing behavior. It’s absolutely imperative that employers act swiftly and thoroughly when these kinds of concerns are brought to them.

What Should You Do if You’ve Faced Sexual Harassment at Work?

If you’ve dealt with sexual harassment at work in Venice, Los Angeles, you must notify your employer. If they don’t know about the issue, they will not be able to take steps to fix the problem, and it can be hard to hold them accountable. There may be situations that are difficult to bring up because the person you would report the behavior to is the harasser, participated in the harassment, or seemed to tolerate it. A lawyer can help you understand the right approach to take in this situation.

Documentation is another important practice. It’s very helpful to your claim if you have a good record of the conduct, steps you took to address the situation, and anything your employer may have done. The documentation should be specific to the kind of harassment involved. However, if there are any images, emails, or digital or physical documentation, it’s important that you try to collect those things. Additionally, any notes you take can help piece the situation together.

Finally, contact a lawyer, particularly in cases where the conduct persists. We can help you understand your options and the next steps that you should be considering.

Can an Employer Retaliate Against You for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

One of the concerns that can keep people from moving forward with concerns regarding sexual harassment is that they believe that it could negatively impact their jobs or even cost them their jobs. Anything like this could be a significant issue for your employer and get them in a lot of trouble.

Some of the most important protections that employees in the United States have are protections against retaliation by their employer, bringing forth concerns, including sexual harassment. Retaliation could involve a variety of negative treatments, such as:

  • Being fired or let go could result in a wrongful termination claim.
  • Not being promoted for a position that you would otherwise receive.
  • Financial penalties, such as not receiving a standard raise or bonus that you were qualified for.
  • Being demoted from your current position.
  • Not being given the opportunity to interview for other positions.
  • Denial of career development or networking opportunities.
  • Being given a less desirable schedule or work tasks.

In some cases, an employer may even try to make your work experience so miserable that you leave your job. This could even qualify for a wrongful termination claim if it’s determined that no reasonable person could have continued to work under the conditions that your employer set. Any possible retaliations could be a serious issue for your employer, and it’s critical that you contact us as soon as you can if you feel like that has happened to you.

These protections from retaliation also extend to those who may testify or otherwise participate in another employee’s claim against an employer. This is important because some people are hesitant to come forward when they aren’t sure if anyone is willing to cooperate with any potential investigation. Knowing that the protections exist, though, will often lead to others being more willing to come forward with corroborating testimony.

What Do Venice Sexual Harassment Attorneys Do?

No one should have to worry about sexual harassment anywhere, but that’s particularly true at work. Employers have a responsibility to take appropriate measures to prevent and address any kind of sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always something that employees can count on. There is, though, legal recourse available for those who experience these issues at work.

If You’ve Been Sexually Harassed at Work, We Can Help

At the California Employment Counsel, APC, we are able to help those who have faced acute or ongoing sexual harassment at work, whose employers have failed them, or who have suffered retaliation for bringing the issue to the attention of their employer. Our team has experience handling sexual harassment issues with the care and sensitivity that they sometimes require. If you’ve been sexually harassed at work and want to understand your options, contact our offices today.

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