Sexual Harassment FAQs
Sometimes identifying sexual harassment in the workplace is difficult, and even more difficult is determining what legal rights you have when you’ve been a victim of such harassment. Below are some frequently asked questions our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys receive regarding what qualifies as sexual harassment and how to hold employers responsible for improper actions taken at work. If you have additional questions regarding violations of your rights as an employee, please contact the Serendib Law Firm today to find out more about how we can help.
- What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment?
- Who Can Be Held Accountable for Sexual Harassing Conduct?
- Are There Different Kinds of Sexual Harassment?
- What Are My Legal Options After Being Subject to Sexual Harassment?
- What if My Employer Fires Me for Reporting Sexual Harassment?
- What Do I Need to Show I Am Being Sexually Harassed?
- How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim?
- Who Can Help Me With My Sexual Harassment Case?
Sexual harassment can take many forms. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” Victims, as well as their harassers, can be any gender. Unwelcome comments, jokes, or other conduct can be made either in person, or by calls, emails, or text messages.
The harassing party, which can include co-workers, supervisors, or third-party vendors, can be held liable for offensive conduct. Employers who are notified of sexual harassment and fail to take proper action may also be at fault. Contacting a knowledgeable sexual harassment attorney in Orange County as soon as possible is important to making sure the appropriate parties are held responsible.
Generally, there are two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. ‘Quid pro quo’ sexual harassment refers to situations whereby an employee’s refusal to submit to an unwelcome conduct they are subject to adverse employment actions. For example, a supervisor who denies an employee’s earned promotion because they rejected a sexual advance.
Alternately, a ‘hostile work environment’ exists where an employee is subject to unwanted sexual advances, propositions, jokes, pictures, or other conduct that unreasonably interferes with their ability to their work, or otherwise creates an intimidating, or hostile, work environment.
The EEOC gives employees a cause of action for sexual harassment when submission to the sexual harassing conduct is made a condition of employment; made as a basis for employment decisions; or has unreasonably interfered with an individual’s work performance. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also provides for a cause of action for employees who have been subject to sexual harassment at work as well. An experienced Southern California sexual harassment lawyer can help you decide what legal action is most appropriate for your situation.
Both federal and state law protects workers from retaliation if they report discrimination at work, file charges with the EEOC, or otherwise participate in protected activities. Retaliation can be in the form of termination, demotions, further harassment, or other retaliatory actions taken by an employer.
Whatever evidence you can gather is important to establishing sexual harassment. Record the instances you’ve encountered either via a journal or with other documents as well as talking to witnesses who can offer credible testimony. It is also important to report any harassment to supervisors and other higher in management, as well as filing a complaint with the EEOC or a lawsuit under the FEHA.
The statute of limitations for claims brought under the FEHA is three years. Complaints to the EEOC must be brought within 180 days of the harassing conduct. However, if you obtained a Right to Sue letter (“RTS) from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, you have one year from the date of your RTS letter was issued.
If you need further legal assistance or have additional questions about your rights as an employee, the Orange County sexual harassment attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm are here to help. We represent clients throughout Southern California including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Please call our office at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us online to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.