If you have suffered an adverse action like a termination of your employment because you were a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation for damages from your employer. The team of experienced Orange County sexual abuse attorneys at Aegis Law Firm can help you understand your entitlements under the law.
As much as people try to separate their personal lives from their work lives, there are times when their personal lives interfere with their obligations to their employers. A person may need some time off work to deal with the personal issues affecting their lives, and those issues may affect their productivity at work. Employers are legally obligated to provide support to employees who are victims of criminal conduct outside of the workplace. Employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault are entitled to some accommodations under California labor laws.
If you are looking for professional legal support and a legal team of Orange County employment lawyers that will give your case the attention it deserves, call Aegis Law Firm today at (949) 379-6250. Your initial consultation is free, and if we represent you, you do not have to worry about fees unless we win.
Here are some general examples of behaviors that constitute sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace.
Unwanted Sexual Comments or Advances
Unwanted sexual comments or advances can include inappropriate remarks about an individual’s appearance, clothing, or body, as well as unwarranted sexual propositions. When employees are subjected to these unwelcome advances, it can negatively impact their emotional well-being, job performance, and overall job satisfaction.
Sexual Coercion or Pressure
When a person in a position of authority uses their power to coerce an employee into unwanted sexual activities or makes implicit or explicit threats of professional consequences if the victim refuses. This may involve conditioning job benefits, promotions, or job security on compliance with the harasser’s sexual demands, also known as quid pro quo harassment. Additionally, subtle forms of pressure, such as persistent and unwelcome advances despite clear rejections, can also be indicative of sexual coercion.
Examples may include non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome touching, groping, or forced sexual acts. Additionally, instances of sexual assault can extend to situations involving intimidation, threats, or retaliation for resisting unwanted advances.
Sexual Harassment Through Technology
This type of harassment can include the unsolicited transmission of explicit or inappropriate messages, images, or videos through company communication channels, email, or social media platforms. This can also include the creation or dissemination of sexually suggestive content that targets an individual or a group of employees. Additionally, cyberstalking or the use of technology to monitor, track, or intimidate someone in a sexualized manner can be considered a form of harassment.
As defined under the California Labor Code section 230, sexual assault includes any of the following criminal offences:
Under California Labor Code section 230, employers must make accommodations for employees who are victims of sexual assault or who have immediate family members that have been victims of sexual assault.
An employer cannot fire, or discriminate or retaliate against a protected employee in the following circumstances:
The law puts some responsibility on the employees as well. Recognizing that employers must also make plans to accommodate absences, employees must:
If you have suffered sexual abuse in the workplace, it is critical to take certain steps to protect your rights and hold the wrongful party accountable.
Under California Labor Code section 230, an employer must allow an employee to use their vacation days, personal leave days, or compensatory time for the purpose of securing their safety, health, and welfare. That means that if an employee needs time off to file a restraining order, seek medical attention, or take other action to protect themselves or an immediate family member who is a victim of sexual assault, their employer must approve their request for time off without penalty.
If you require reasonable accommodation from your employer as a victim of sexual assault, you should ask your employer. If your employer refuses to make reasonable accommodations for you or punishes you for taking time off, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible.
In a sexual abuse employment case, gathering strong and relevant evidence is crucial to support your claim. Here are types of evidence that can be important in your case:
Any official reports filed with the employer containing detailed accounts of the harassment. Additionally, any written accounts specifying dates, times, and locations of the incidents provide a crucial firsthand narrative. Communication records, such as emails, text messages, or screenshots of social media interactions, also serve as tangible evidence of the harassment.
Witness statements provide independent and corroborative accounts of the alleged harassment. Their statements may also contribute to establishing a pattern of misconduct, reinforcing the gravity of the harassment. In legal proceedings, witness statements can significantly strengthen the case, providing a compelling and objective perspective that goes beyond the victim’s own testimony.
Photographic or Video Evidence
If applicable, any photos or videos that document the harassment or aftermath can provide a visual record that can vividly depict its nature and severity. These forms of evidence make it much harder for perpetrators to dispute or downplay the incidents.
Medical records that document any injuries, medical examinations, or treatments that resulted from the harassment offer a clear link between the abusive incidents and your health. As a result, they serve as objective proof of the harm suffered, which is particularly significant in cases where the effects of the abuse may not be immediately visible. Medical records can also assist in assessing the severity of the damages incurred.
Your work history, performance evaluations, and any documented changes in employment status can reveal patterns or inconsistencies that may be relevant to the case. They can provide a timeline of your experiences within the organization, offering insights into whether the abuse coincides with changes in job responsibilities or evaluations.
Company Policies and Procedures
These documents outline the organization’s commitment to maintaining a safe and harassment-free workplace. If you can demonstrate that the employer had clear policies in place but failed to enforce them or address reported incidents appropriately, it can strengthen their case. On the other hand, if the policies are inadequate or nonexistent, it may highlight a systemic failure on the part of the employer to prevent and address workplace harassment.
Experts, such as psychologists or medical professionals specializing in trauma, can offer a comprehensive understanding of the harm you suffered. Their testimony can also help establish a link between the abusive conduct and any emotional distress, mental health issues, or physical consequences. This professional perspective not only lends credibility to your claims but also assists in educating the court or jury about the nuanced and often complex effects of sexual abuse.
If an employer fires or threatens to fire an employee, demotes an employee, suspends an employee or take any other action that is discriminatory or retaliatory, because you took time off for a purpose related to your sexual assault, they will be in violation of the law.
Any employee who suffers any adverse action from an employer who disobeys the law is entitled to the following remedies:
An employer who refuses to rehire, promote, or restore an employee or former employee that is entitled to a remedy will be guilty of a misdemeanor.
If your employment has been terminated or your employer is refusing to comply with the outcome of a grievance procedure ordering your reinstatement and reimbursement of lost wages, you may file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations.
You should speak with an experienced Orange County sexual abuse attorney who can advise you on the appropriate steps to take and represent you in any action against your employer.
At Aegis Law Firm we understand how stressful a threat to your employment or the loss of income can be, which is why we represent our clients for no fees until we win. For almost 20 years, we have been helping real people like you win the compensation they deserve.
Call Aegis Law Firm today at (949) 379-6250 to schedule your free consultation.