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Orange County Sexual Harassment Attorney

We understand that filing a complaint of sexual harassment or abuse against an employer can be intimidating. Rest assured that when you meet with our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys, your situation will be handled with the utmost discretion. We won’t move forward with charges until you are certain that this is the route you want to take.

Remember, no matter how the case turns out, you are protected by law from retaliation.

Call (949) 379-6250 or contact Aegis Law Firm via an online form to request your free, confidential consultation with our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers.

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How Can an Orange County Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help?

Sexual abuse and harassment should never be tolerated. When sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, it creates a hostile environment that makes it more difficult for everyone to do their jobs. Most importantly, it violates the rights, privacy, and safety of the person subjected to it.

Being sexually harassed or abused at work will undoubtedly leave you facing many questions. Our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys can help you understand your legal rights, advise you of your next steps, and give you the honest answers you need. Our goal is to ensure you feel heard, seen, and supported during this time.

An Orange County sexual harassment lawyer from Aegis Law Firm can bring a variety of benefits to your case, including:

  • Determining if sexual harassment indeed occurred according to California law
  • Identifying all liable parties, including the perpetrator, your employer, etc.
  • Preparing and filing all necessary paperwork on your behalf
  • Advising you on how to deal with your harasser and report future instances of abuse
  • Collecting and analyzing evidence of abuse to support your claim
  • Monitoring your employer’s response to ensure you are not retaliated against

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. All employers are prohibited from harassing employees in the workplace.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

The following is a partial list of workplace sexual harassment violations:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors
  • Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances
  • Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures,
  • Cartoon or posters
  • Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, jokes, sexual advances or propositions
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body
  • Sexually degrading words used to describe an individual
  • Suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations
  • Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements

Sexual harassment can be a civil rights infraction or possibly a criminal act depending on the frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct.

Compensation for Sexual Harassment Victims

A victim may be entitled to monetary damages even though no employment opportunity has been denied and there is no actual loss of pay or benefits. Compensation in workplace sexual harassment cases is based mainly on the type of harm that the employee suffered as a result of the harassment.

Damages available to victims of sexual harassment include:

  • Back pay and/or front pay
  • Punitive damages
  • Sexual harassment attorneys’ fees
  • Pain and suffering

How to Recognize Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Workplace sexual harassment laws have been defined by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). There are two recognized types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

What you should know about sexual harassment charges:

Quid Pro Quo

This is when a person in a position of authority demands the exchange of sexual favors for advancement opportunities, raises, or general job improvements. This can involve any sort of inappropriate conduct, such as requesting that an employee place a hand on their leg, say things for them, or send them pictures.

Hostile Environment

This is a more general form of harassment that can be conducted by anyone at the workplace. This charge can be applied to any unwanted sexually motivated action.

Not every sexual advance or inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace amounts to sexual harassment. For such behavior to be actionable, it must be severe and pervasive enough to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile, intimidating, offensive, oppressive, or abusive workplace. This means that a single incident may not be enough ground to make a legal claim for sexual harassment. However, if a single incident is sufficiently severe or pervasive, it could constitute sexual harassment. Whether the incident is actionable or not would depend on the specific facts of the case and whether it fulfills the legal requirements for a finding of sexual harassment.

The following elements are considered to determine whether sexual conduct complained of qualifies as severe and pervasive:

  • The nature of the conduct
  • The frequency of the conduct
  • The circumstances under which the conduct took place
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating

A victim of sexual harassment is not required to prove that their productivity in the workplace was negatively affected by the sexual conduct. All the victim is required to prove is that a reasonable person subject to the same conduct would find that the conduct altered their working conditions in a way that made it more difficult to do their job

Not all forms of sexual harassment are obvious or explicit. There are many ways a coworker can use another for sexual gratification. If you feel your privacy has been violated, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

How to Hold Your Employer Accountable

If harassment occurs, an employer may be liable even if management was not aware of the harassment. Employers are strictly liable for harassment by their supervisors or agents. The harasser can be held personally liable for damages. Additionally, Government Code section 12940, subdivision (k), requires an entity to take “all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring.” If an employer has failed to take such preventative measures, that employer can be held liable for the harassment.

Employer’s Duty to Prevent Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation

Employers have a duty to prevent harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace. Compliance with Section 12950 alone will not protect an employer from liability in claim for sexual harassment. An employer may still be held liable for failure to prevent harassment, discrimination, or retaliation if:

  • An employee was subjected to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation during the course of their employment with the employer;
  • The employer failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment, discrimination, or retaliation;
  • The employee suffered harm; and
  • The employer’s failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment, discrimination, or retaliation was a substantial factor in causing the employee’s harm.

Reasonable steps to prevent harassment, discrimination, or retaliation include investigating complaints from employees, and taking immediate and appropriate steps to correct the behavior.

We Can Protect You From Employer Retaliation

Many victims of workplace sexual harassment hesitate to take action out of fear that their employer will retaliate against them, such as being fired, demoted, denied a bonus or raise, given a less-desirable work assignment, having their hours cut, or being moved to a different department. This type of retaliation is illegal. If your employer has taken any sort of negative action against you as a result of you coming forward with concerns of sexual harassment, our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys are fully prepared to stand by your side and defend you against such mistreatment.

Take the Appropriate Precautions

Sexual harassment is not always easy to prove. If you move forward with legal action, the court will likely want to know what you have done to stop the behavior from occurring. Before filing a claim, you should take note of the behavior, how often it occurs, and who else knows about it. If you feel comfortable asking the person to stop, do so. Likewise, speaking with HR or a supervisor can be beneficial.

These routes can work, but do not always provide the desired results. At Aegis Law Firm, our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss the situation with someone who you know is on your side. Just knowing that you have legal advocates ready to back you up can help you find the confidence to speak up about these problems.

Request your free consultation at Aegis Law Firm by calling (949) 379-6250 or contacting us online. Our skilled sexual harassment attorneys serve Irvine, Orange County & Los Angeles Areas.