Top San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorneys
You have the absolute right to feel secure at work. Employers should never condition your ability to keep your job or be promoted based on anything sexual. Employees should never be subject to nonconsensual sexual conduct of any form. Employees should never have to listen to sexual jokes or comments about their sexuality. They should never have to see postings about their sexuality online.
Fortunately, there are federal and California laws that were enacted to protect employees from any form of sexual harassment. Our San Diego sexual harassment attorneys protect employees because the law is on your side. These laws include:
- The federal sexual harassment statute is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- California’s sexual harassment law is the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
A key difference between the laws is that the federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees while the number of employees generally isn’t limited under the California law.
Examples of sexual harassment, according to the California FEHA include:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature and actions that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment based on an employee’s sex. Under California law, the offensive conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire, but maybe based upon an employee’s actual or perceived sex or gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, and/or pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”
If you or a loved one has experienced workplace sexual harassment within your workplace, it is best to speak to our San Diego sexual harassment attorneys who will fight for your rights.
How Is Sexual Harassment Legally Defined?
In the eyes of the law, there are two different forms of sexual harassment. On the one hand, there is quid pro quo sexual harassment and on the other is hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment: in Latin, “quid pro quo” means “something for something.” This form of sexual harassment occurs when your employer conditions some aspect of your employment (a raise, demotion, increase in pay, or preventing a termination) in exchange for sexual favor or act.
Hostile work environment: This occurs when the behavior of your employer is severe or pervasive (meaning it has become quite unbearable) enough that a reasonable person would find it uncomfortable. This can include jokes, unwanted advances, and/or touching.
If you experienced any of the following two types of sexual harassment, our San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorneys would like to speak to you regarding a potential case.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Protects You from Sexual Harasssment
The federal law defines sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination. The Civil Rights Act states that sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment also includes verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature – provided that the employee’s “submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”
The sexual harasser can be any of the following:
- The employer
- A manager or supervisor of the employee
- An agent of the employer
- Another coworker
- A non-employee
- A “supervisor in another area”
Title VII protects both males and females. The victim and the harasser can be of the same sex. Victims include more than just the person who is being sexually harassed. Anyone affected by the sexual harassment at work may have a claim. Sexual harassment does not require financial harm.
The conduct of the harasser must be unwelcome.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the authority to enforce Title VII. This means the EEOC will review the allegations and all other relevant issues when it conducts its investigation.
Employers have other duties in addition to the responsibility to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers need to take proactive steps. This includes making company policy clear that sexual harassment is intolerable. The employer should create a grievance process and respond quickly when there a complaint is filed.
What damages can San Diego employees claim if they are sexually harassed?
At Miracle Mile Law Group, our attorneys fight to get you the most out of your case. If you suffer sexual harassment, your remedies may include:
- Job reinstatement if you are fired, lost income, and lost pay benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to your reputation
- Statutory damages
- Punitive damages
- The requirement that the employer take corrective measures
What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Harassed?
If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, it is not uncommon to feel anxiety over the trauma and possibility of career suicide. However, there is a certain step you can take to either cease the harassment or mitigate the damage that ensues.
- Tell the harasser to stop. This is easier said than done as in most employment contexts the harasser is in a position of power. But if you feel comfortable, request that the harasser cease the behavior.
- Check to see if your employer has an anti-harassment policy in place. It may be helpful to check your employee handbook or other material to see if there is a protocol in place to notify your employer of the harassment. If no such policy exists, contact your supervisor.
- Gather all supporting documents. Make sure to make copies of emails, texts, skype messages, or any other documentation that will help support your side of the story. Oftentimes, the harasser will deny the accusations.
- Create a work journal. Any time you perceive something as harassment, write down the date it occurred, who did it, and any witnesses that were present. This will help refresh your memory when filing a claim.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you navigate the law and preserve your rights. The San Diego sexual harassment attorneys at Miracle Mile Law Group are standing by to hear your story. Call us at (888) 244-0706 for more information.
Sexual harassment and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
The California FEHA defines sexual harassment in two different ways. There’s quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment. This type of sexual harassment involves someone who is in a position of authority over the employee’s career (such as a supervisor) who request that the employee comply with sexual advances or suffer an adverse employment action (such as being fired, a poor review, or not being promoted). The request can be just a threat. The sexual advances can’t be consensual. The person in authority must make it clear (by conduct or words) that the employee’s job status will be better if they comply or worse if they don’t comply. Examples of “better’ include a promotion, a good review, more pay, a nice assignment, better working conditions or hours, being hired, or not suffering a bad employment action.
Hostile Work Environment Harassment. Here, any employee (not just people in positions of authority) can create a hostile work environment. This type of conduct doesn’t require a threat or a promise of a good or bad employment result.
The California FEHA requires that the conduct be offensive, hostile, or intimidating – to a reasonable person. Examples of conduct that create a hostile work environment include:
- Discussion of sexual conduct
- Derogatory jokes, slurs, or comments
- Display of sexual images, cartoons, or other material
- Interfering with your movements
- Obscene messages
- Many other types of improper sexual conduct
The requirements for a California sexual harassment case include:
- The offensive conduct is based on the employee’s sex. The conduct doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. It does have to be based on the employee’s gender or sexual identity. The person who filed a sexual harassment claim doesn’t have to be the target of the offensive act. If you have to regularly read derogatory sexual comments about other workers, you may have a sexual harassment claim.
- The offensive conduct has to be unwelcome. Unwelcome isn’t the same as consensual. Some workers consent because of the fear they may lose their job or employee rights.
- The test of what is offensive is based on a reasonable person. If the conduct is such that most employees of both sexes wouldn’t find the conduct objectionable, then the sexual harassment case may not be valid.
- The conduct must be “severe” or “pervasive” enough to create a hostile work environment. Generally, one offensive comment isn’t enough unless the act is also a sexual assault. Sexual harassment often includes repeatedly making a worker feel uncomfortable.
Damages in California sexual harassment cases are similar to the damages in Title VII cases.
Sexual harassment and employer training in San Diego
One of the requirements of California’s FEHA law is that employers with 50 or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisory employees every two years. There are other training sexual harassment training requirements as well.
Lawsuits are among the best ways to hold employers accountable for sexual harassment. Often, employers are strictly liable which means you don’t have to show the employer knew of the sexual harassment – just that it occurred at their place of employment. By filing a lawsuit, you assert your rights and also help other employees who may be sexually harassed.
To discuss any workplace San Diego sexual harassment case, call the Miracle Mile Law Group today. You can reach us at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.
Miracle Mile Law Group Fights for Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, contact the San Diego sexual harassment attorney at Miracle Mile Law Group to determine your rights. You do not pay a single penny unless we are able to obtain compensation on your behalf. Call us at (888) 244-0706 or fill out the form for a free consultation.