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Sexual Harassment

Employment Lawyers Representing Southern California Workers

Sexual HarassmentIf you fell victim to inappropriate touching or comments in the workplace, you may feel humiliated or degraded. You may have lost your job or lost an opportunity for career advancement because you complained of the harassment to HR. Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit workplace sexual harassment. You may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages. You should consult the Orange County sexual harassment lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm about whether you have a viable claim.

Sexual Harassment

It is illegal for your employer to sexually harass you or to permit sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can include any unwelcome sexual behavior, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, comments, jokes, pranks, memes, and touching. Harassment can include any remarks or physical actions taken because of your sex, even if they are not sexual in nature. For example, sexual harassment could involve negative remarks about women in general.

FEHA

In many instances, FEHA provides greater protection than does federal law. It generally applies to employers with a minimum of five employees. However, it prohibits harassment based on protected characteristics, including sex, at all workplaces, regardless of size. Additionally, FEHA requires employers of at least 50 employees to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors.

Sexual harassment on the job can involve quid pro quo harassment or hostile work environment harassment. Our sexual harassment attorneys can help Orange County employees bring claims in either of these situations. Trivial and one-off incidents usually will not count as actionable harassment, and the conduct must be unwelcome to be actionable. You should let a harasser know that his or her behavior is unwelcome. In some cases, your employment manual may provide specific steps that you should take to report sexual harassment, and you should follow them. When an employment handbook does not specify certain procedures, you should provide written notice to HR of the sexual harassment to give your employer a chance to rectify the situation.

To show quid pro quo harassment, you would need to show that you worked for the defendant employer or applied for a job with it, one of the defendant’s supervisory agents engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct or requests, the defendant’s agent made a favorable working condition contingent on submitting to the sexual conduct or requests, harm resulted, and the supervising agent’s actions substantially factored into the harm. For example, if your manager promises you a promotion if you sleep with him, this is actionable quid pro quo harassment.

Hostile work environment harassment can be perpetrated by a manager, a supervisor, a coworker, a customer, or a client. To show hostile work environment harassment, your Orange County sexual harassment attorney would need to show that you received unwelcome sexual comments, conduct, or advances because of your sex, and the comments, conduct, or advances were severe or pervasive enough to change the conditions of your employment. Courts will look at the total circumstances to decide whether a reasonable person in your situation would have felt harassed.

Although hostile work environment harassment can be committed by many different people in the workplace, it tends to be more straightforward to hold a company accountable for harassment by a supervisor or manager than it is to hold a company accountable for a customer, client, or coworker’s harassment.

Damages

If we can establish liability for sexual harassment, you can recover economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the situation, these may include front pay, back pay, loss of reputation, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. In some instances of egregious misconduct by an employer, it may be possible to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish a wrongdoer and deter future misconduct.

Consult an Experienced Employment Lawyer 

Sexual harassment can be devastating. It may affect you both financially and emotionally. You should hold your employer accountable. If you believe that you were subject to sexual harassment, you should talk to the employment lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm about your situation. We represent people in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Call us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us via our online form to talk to a sexual harassment lawyer at our Orange County firm.

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