Sexual Harassment and Assault in the Workplace: How Do I Know If I Have A Case?
The recent me too movement has given women a platform to tell riveting stories of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse in the workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is widespread. In fact, studies show that at least 25%1 of women experience some form of workplace harassment in their lifetime; other studies suggest this number rises all the way to 80%1. Sexual harassment not only effects the women who undergo the abuse, but also the employers who have to bear the costs of litigation and hefty payouts in the form of settlements and jury verdicts.
What is Sexual Harassment?
There are two forms of sexual harassment recognized by CA courts: “quid pro quo” sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. “Quid Pro Quo” sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor requests a sexual favor in exchange for some benefit at work. Hostile work environment sexual harassment, on the other hand, is harder to spot because it happens over time. If your employer conducts him or herself in a way that is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person could not work there, then there may be a hostile work environment.
Nonetheless, California enacted the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in 1959 to protect victims of sexual harassment. However, FEHA does not literally spell out a law for preventing sexual harassment. CA courts have, since 1959, come to interpret sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination. In other words, if you are sexually harassed, you are being discriminated because you are either a woman or man (aka, your sex) in the eyes of the law
The lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group are skilled at identifying abuse and sexual harassment by employers who prey on disadvantaged workers.
What Are the Risk Factors for Sexual Harassment?
It’s probably no surprise that women experience sexual harassment on a way greater scale than men (this is NOT to say that men do not have to deal with sexual harassment at work). Nonetheless, there are factors that can indicate why certain workers are at a higher risk of being sexually harassed in the workplace.
- “The Rainmaker”: in many workplaces there is the one or a few individuals who exert great power in the company because they bring in new business, profits, or other financial benefits. Rainmakers include professors, CEOs, partners, and other high-level managers. These individuals are given god-like treatment. Workers who are below these rainmakers in the company fear retaliation and retribution if they report sexual harassment by these individuals.
- Tip Workers: workers in the entertainment, hospitality, and food services are at a great risk of being sexually abused because they rely on tips to make ends meet. In fact, most accounts of sexual harassment in these sectors go unnoticed because it is the norm. For example, bottle service and VIP hosts at prominent nightclubs in Las Vegas are at high risk of sexual harassment due to the nature of the business2. However, this does not meet such behavior is legal, and employers can be held liable for supervisors who take advantage of hardworking female hosts.
- Isolated Workers: many women work in environments where they are isolated, such as janitors, hotel maids, or domestic workers. These environments puts workers at a higher risk of sexual harassment mainly because there is a lack of witnesses. Also, since isolated workers are usually in lower level positions, they are rarely believed.
- Undocumented/Temporary Visa Workers: workers who are on temporary work visas or who are undocumented have the false belief that if they report sexual harassment he or she will be deported. This is far from the truth. These individuals have the same rights as any other citizen when it comes to sexual harassment and holding employers liable for such behavior.
- Male-dominated Jobs: the “frat” environment is a prevalent characteristic in some sectors and/or professions. A good example is the military. In fact, almost 26% of women in the military can recount some form sexual harassment they went through3. Why? This may be because male-dominated jobs tend to be more physical in nature. However, this does not give men the opportunity to sexually harass women. In the eyes of the law, sexual harassment in male dominated jobs still gives liability to employers who allow this sort of behavior to occur
While these risk factors are a good indication as to why sexual harassment seems to target specific people, any woman can be a victim. Call the lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group at (888) 244-0706 to get a free consultation.
What If Sexual Harassment Is Not The Only Unlawful Thing My Employer Did to Me?
Sexual Harassment is usually accompanied by some other wrongful action by an employer. For example, if your supervisor terminated you based on reporting the sexual harassment, you may have a claim for wrongful termination and retaliation for being a whistleblower. Sexual harassment is usually accompanied with retaliation or discrimination based on:
Talk to a Sexual Harassment lawyer today. We offer free consultations and you pay nothing unless we win.
The lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group are trained in handling sexual harassment lawsuits. If you believe you have been, or currently are, a victim of sexual harassment, contact our attorneys at Miracle Mile Law Group. Having a lawyer by your side when trying to prove that you have been sexually harassed is essential. We know what to look for when going up against your employer. These cases are very time sensitive so give us a call at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation. Remember, we do not take a single dollar unless WE WIN!