Sexual harassment is extremely unlawful and inappropriate behavior that is often committed in the workplace. There are laws designed to eliminate this behavior so it cannot be used by employers and coworkers to exploit, harass, or denigrate any individual based on their gender or gender identity in a place of employment. These rules also apply to people outside of an organization which means that employers have a duty to protect employees from sexual harassment from customers and vendors as well. Mesriani Law Group has a team of Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers ready to help if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Our team understands the importance of a safe work environment and the negative impacts that sexual harassment can have on an individual. So, if you or a loved one has become a victim of sexual harassment, call (866) 500 – 7070 to schedule a consultation today.
Here are shortcuts to the specific topics:
- 1. Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer
- 2. How Can a Mesriani Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help?
- 3. Why Choose Mesriani for Your Sexual Harassment Claim
- 4. What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
- 5. Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
- 6. Laws Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
- 7. Have You Experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
- 8. What Can You Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
How Can a Mesriani Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help?
If you are being sexually harassed at work, there are immediate steps that you should be taking to stop the harassment. Contacting a Mesriani Law Group sexual harassment lawyer can help provide you with the support you need to effectively fight and win your sexual harassment lawsuit. Our experienced legal team will help:
- Build a case against the people responsible for or being complicit to sexual harassment
- Collect the right evidence necessary to defend your claims and protect your rights
- Navigate the discovery process and analyze the facts presented
- Either negotiate the best settlement possible or go to trial to fight for your rights
Ultimately, our team at Mesriani Law Group is here to look out for your best interests when no one else will. We stand by our clients and ensure that they have the best chance possible of winning their sexual harassment claims against those that will use their power, resources, and influence to sweep your complaints under the rug.
Why Choose Mesriani for Your Sexual Harassment Claim
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is a broad term that can cover a multitude of different scenarios that do not necessarily have to involve sexual acts. While it is defined by unwanted sexual advances like asking for sexual favors and other inappropriate physical contact, sexual harassment can also include teasing, bullying, intimidating, and using offensive language that centers around an individuals’ sex, gender identity, or preference.
The primary types of sexual harassment usually fall in one of these 2 segments:
- Hostile Work Environment: This generally occurs when a coworker or supervisor has conducted themselves in a way that is inappropriate for work which then creates a work environment that is no longer a comfortable or safe space. This qualifies the place of employment as hostile since it is either intimidating, threatening, or abusive for certain employees to be there.
- Quid pro quo: Quid pro quo means “this for that” and is a kind of sexual harassment that happens when the outcome of a decision that impacts an individual is dependent on whether that individual commits a sexual act. This kind of harassment can be either stated or implied and the person making the request can hold inaction against the person in a way that negatively impacts the individual’s employment status or the status of promotion, raise, or other benefit.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The most examples of sexual harassment usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Unwanted sexual advances, invitations, or conversations
- Displaying pictures or objects that display sexual content or content of a sexually provocative nature
- Inappropriate staring or making inappropriate sexual gestures towards another
- Making lewd or degrading statements or jokes about an individuals’ body, appearance, sexuality, sex, gender identification, or sexual activity
- Unwanted physical contact including inappropriate touching and impeding someone from doing their job by physically blocking them from moving
- Offering raises, promotions, time off, or any other benefit in exchange for sexual acts as a condition
- Sexist comments create hostile work environments which are also classified as sexual harassment
- Retaliation for refusing unwanted advances
Laws Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
There are a couple laws designed to help mitigate sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that was implemented to help govern sexual harassment claims. In addition to the federal regulations, each state offers its own form of protection against sexual harassment with California’s laws being some of the most comprehensive in the US. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act allows any individual to pursue a sexual harassment claim against any employer, regardless of number of employees. This is a slight improvement from the federal regulations that limit sexual harassment protections to companies with at least 15 employees.
Even with these laws in place, sexual harassment still happens regularly. A few important things to note about sexual harassment in the workplace:
- California law protect individuals who are victims of or witnesses to sexual harassment from retaliation
- Sexual harassment can happen without sexual motivation and sometimes is motivated by control and power
- Sexual harassment can happen to and be committed by both genders
These considerations are all important when determining what falls under what would be considered sexual harassment.
Have You Experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sometimes sexual harassment claims are a clear-cut case that are easily identified, but sometimes it can be more difficult to determine because sexual harassment can come in many subtle forms. Sexual harassment can also be difficult to define because it is dependent on conduct that is unwanted and sometimes that line can shift which makes what was once accepted conduct now inappropriate.
In general, you can assume you have been the victim of sexual harassment if you have been exposed to or experienced any of the following:
- You were propositioned with a raise or promotion that was contingent on performing a sexual act
- You are forced to listen to inappropriate content, jokes, or conversations that are offensive
- You constantly deal with unwanted advances, requests for sexual favors or dates, inappropriate touching, or uncomfortable staring
- You are exposed to offensive content being displayed in common areas of your workplace
- You experience harassment that focuses on your gender, orientation, body, or appearance
What Can You Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
In order to effectively protect your rights as an employee, you must:
Make it Extremely Clear to Aggressors That Advances are Unwanted
Sexual harassment is predicated on the premise that advances are unwanted. If the argument could be made that any advances were potentially welcomed, then a case will become more difficult to prove. It is critical that all unwanted advances or conduct are clearly identified as such and any unwanted actions committed by the perpetrator should be stopped immediately. This should make it explicitly clear to the individual that their actions are inappropriate if there was any question as if it were.
Be sure to document everything and keep a record of incidents that occurred. This incident log should include times, dates, witnesses, and parties involved in addition to who the incident was reported to, and actions taken. Also be sure to keep any written evidence of texts, emails, and other correspondence that may support your sexual harassment claim. This includes the employee handbook, performance reviews, and any other evidence that will help illuminate any discrimination or retaliation that has occurred. If something was verbally communicated, try and get the incriminating information confirmed in an email that can be used to support your case. Also be sure to keep a backup of this evidence to ensure that you can provide it to your sexual harassment lawyers to help build a case.
File a Formal Complaint with Your Employer
Companies will have their own internal processes in place to deal with sexual harassment so be sure to give your employers an opportunity to address the problem appropriately. If your employer does not live up to their duty to provide a safe working space free of sexual harassment, then additional steps can be taken that circumvent their inaction and will force a company to act.
Once a formal complaint has been filed, be sure to keep track of all communications that are relevant to the complaint. This will help the victim ensure that steps are being taken to resolve the issue appropriately.
Quitting before reporting sexual harassment makes the claim more difficult to win because it does not give the employer an opportunity to resolve the issue. While it can be difficult to continue dealing with, sexual harassment can generally be eliminated internally if the right steps are taken. Giving your employer a chance to remedy the situation could solve the problem and if not, it will increase the likelihood that your case will be won for the damages that you deserve.
Contact a Sexual Harassment Attorney
It is critical to the success of your sexual harassment claim that you speak with an experienced sexual harassment attorney. At Mesriani Law Group, our sexual harassment lawyers in Los Angeles can provide guidance to ensure that you are taking the right steps to ensure that your employment rights are protected.
Employer Liability When Sexual Harassment Occurs
California law clearly states that employers are liable for the actions of their employees when it comes to sexual harassment. Employers have a duty to ensure that they are providing a safe place for their employees to work. This generally results in procedures that are implemented company wise that are designed to mitigate sexual harassment in the workplace.
When sexual harassment is committed by a coworker, vendor, customer, subcontractor, or any other party, a formal complaint generally needs to be made to hold employers accountable. This informs employers about sexual harassment that is occurring so they can take steps to stop it. If a complaint is not made and there was no other way for a manager to know of any sexual harassment, liability can be defended against.
When sexual harassment is committed by a supervisor, manager, or other person in power, they are held to a standard of “strict liability.” This holds the employer liable plain and simple and does not require a formal complaint. An employer also can’t take steps to remedy the situation to prevent liability as individuals at the management level are held to a much higher standard. This is because businesses in California with 50 or more employees are required by law to provide sexual harassment training to all supervisors every 2 years.
This training is designed to inform upper management of:
- What is sexual harassment?
- Policies implemented to combat sexual harassment in the workplace
- Obligations of management when dealing with sexual harassment
- How to prevent / correct sexual harassment in the workplace
- How to respond to formal sexual harassment complaints
How Do You Report Workplace Sexual Harassment?
There are several ways that sexual harassment in the workplace can be reported. The method of reporting is usually dependent on the severity and nature of the complaint.
Almost all companies have some clear procedure in place for dealing with sexual harassment. This information can usually be found in the employee handbook that is distributed during the hiring phase. This information will typically direct you towards filing a formal complaint with your management. If your management is the individual committing the sexual harassment, a complaint can be filed with HR to supersede the formal chain of command.
In the evert a formal complaint to your employer or HR goes ignored, you can bring the claim to the attention of your union representative who can act as an intermediary between you and your employer. Your union’s job is to protect you and your rights to a safe workplace.
In the most severe cases of sexual harassment law enforcement should be involved. Under circumstances that exceed the bounds of harassment and move into more serious criminal charges like sexual assault or rape, the police should be called, and criminal charges should be filed.
What Do You Do If Your Employer Ignores a Sexual Harassment Claim?
Once a formal complaint has been filed with your employer, it becomes their duty to try and resolve the issue in a way that restores the workplace to a safe environment free of sexual harassment. Employers are responsible for investigating any claims of sexual harassment and if sexual harassment has been found, then corrective actions are required to prevent liability from falling on the employer.
Sexual harassment claims often go ignored because:
- The employer refuses to investigate the claim or does not take the complaint seriously
- The perpetrator is a high performing individual who has infractions overlooked
If a sexual harassment claim goes ignored, a sexual harassment attorney should be enlisted to help build a case.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint with the EEOC
Under federal law, an EEOC complaint must be filed with a state or local agency before filing a lawsuit for sexual harassment. Having an experienced sexual harassment attorney can help ensure that deadlines are met. Once a complaint is filed, the EEOC will investigate the case and determine if sexual harassment occurred. If there is cause, the complaint will result in the EEOC taking action and attempting to resolve the issue with the employer. A personal sexual harassment lawsuit can be filed following the investigation regardless of the outcome of the EEOC investigation. Once notice of right-to-sue is given to an individual by the EEOC, they have 90 days to file a lawsuit for sexual harassment in the workplace. At this point, the sexual harassment lawyer will help negotiate a settlement or proceed to court to ensure the best possible outcome for your claim.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
Being a victim of sexual harassment can cause several problems that may entitle the victim to compensation. The amount of compensation received generally depends on the type and severity of harm that resulted from the sexual harassment. You may be entitled to:
- Back Pay: This compensation covers any pay that may have been lost due to sexual harassment which includes raises, benefits, and commissions that someone would have earned from the point of sexual harassment to the time of settlement or court victory. If you left your job due to a hostile work environment, your position may also be reinstated if it is available.
- Compensatory Damages: Additional damages can be rewarded for physical and emotional injuries. Recovery would also include damage to your reputation and any out of expenses that were incurred because of the sexual harassment. These costs often include therapy, medical bills, pharmaceuticals, and misc. expenses related to a job search or being unemployed.
- Punitive Damages: In severe cases of sexual harassment, punitive damages may be awarded. This is designed to punish particularly inappropriate behavior to deter future incidents from occurring.
- Attorney’s Fees: Miscellaneous admin costs related to the sexual harassment lawsuit will need to be covered and can usually be included in sexual harassment compensation.
When to Contact a Mesriani Law Group
If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, call Mesriani Law Group today. Our team of experienced sexual harassment attorneys in Los Angeles will ensure you have the best chances of getting the recovery you deserve. We will fight for your rights to work in an environment free from sexual harassment so if you would like to know more, contact us at (866) 500 – 7070 to schedule a consultation.
Sexual Harassment Lawyer FAQs
What to do if you are sexually harassed in the workplace?
- Sexual harassment should be reported to your employer or Human Resources to ensure that there is a formal complaint in writing to document the event. In the event that the complaint is ignored, a complaint should be made to the EEOC or the DFEH to ensure that an investigation is opened. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help guidance as well as help secure evidence.
What are the types of workplace sexual harassment?
- The primary types of workplace harassment usually fall into one of 2 categories:
- Quid pro quo: Translates to “this for that” which implies a request for a sexual favor in exchange for positive treatment and retaliation for rejection of advances.
- Hostile work environment: Typically refers to someone having their right to work free of harassment violated. This could imply offensive dialogue, bullying, unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and so much more.
Can you go to jail for sexually harassing someone?
- If an act of sexual harassment becomes sexual assault or rape, you have committed a federal sexual assault crime. This will result in appropriate punishment which comes with strict sentencing rules that include jail time.