Orange County Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Contact Us Now to Receive Professional Help with Your California Sexual Harassment Claim
Sexual abuse 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.
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 abuse 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.
How an Orange County Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help
Being sexually harassed or abused at work will undoubtedly leave you facing many questions. Our 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.
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.
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 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.
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
- Attorneys' fees
- Pain and suffering
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 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, we 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 (800) 543-4829. Our skilled sexual harassment attorneys serve Irvine, Orange County & Los Angeles Areas.
Q:How Bad Does the Sexual Harassment Have to Be to Win My Case?
A:Every case is different, and no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed. That being said, our firm has been successful in settling cases with varying degrees of sexual harassment.
Q:What If It's Just My Word Against the Harasser's? Can I Still Win a Sexual Harassment Case?
A:Once again, outcomes are not guaranteed, but it is possible to win a sexual harassment case of this nature. Having the harassment documented in some form of writing (text messages, emails, etc.) or corroborated by a witness is typically helpful to the strength of the case, but it is not always required.
Q:Does the Sexual Harassment Have to Be Directed at Me?
A:Technically, no. A sexual harassment case could be based on having to endure a work environment where the “culture” may include disparaging comments towards women, having to listen to or being pressured to participate in lewd conversations, or being shown sexually explicit material. For example, a woman working in an office with predominantly male co-workers often hears them make graphic sexual comments about women (other co-workers, celebrities, clients, etc).Scenarios such as these could be argued to create an uncomfortable work environment, through sexually based means.
Q:Who Can Commit Sexual Harassment?
A:Anyone is capable of committing sexual harassment. While many people think of sexual harassment as something that occurs between a supervisor and his or her subordinates, sexual harassment can occur among anyone in a workplace or school setting. Harrasers can identify with any gender, sexual orientation, and can have any working or professional relationship with the person being harassed.
Q:Does the Harasser Have to Be the Opposite Sex as Me for It to Be Considered Sexual Harassment?
A:No, the harasser does not have to be the opposite sex as you. Additionally, sexual harassment does not necessarily have to seek or allude to a sexual relationship with the target. For example, a straight male can sexually harass another straight male by repeatedly inquiring about their sexual experiences.
Q:Does There Need to Be Actual Touching for the Conduct to Be Considered Sexual Harassment?
A:No, physical contact does not have to take place for sexual harassment to have occurred. Sexual harassment can also take the form of inappropriate comments, leering, or making lewd gestures to name a few examples.
Q:Should I Be Worried That If I Report the Sexual Harassment, I Will Be Fired?
A:While it cannot be guaranteed that you will not experience retaliation or termination for reporting the behavior, it is illegal for a company to do either. In a perfect world, neither would take place, but that is how lawsuits occur. If you do experience one or both, you would want to contact our law office to discuss the situation immediately.
Q:How Can I Protect My Rights If I Have Been Sexually Harassed?
A:The first step you would want to take is bringing the matter to the attention of management (in writing, preferably). This gives the employers the opportunity to remedy the matter, and if they fail to do so, you can proceed with legal action. Additionally, it is important to document dates and times of incidents for your own records, or save any written communications regarding the situation.
Q:How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in California?
A:If you believe you have a valid claim for sexual harassment, you must act quickly. In California, you have one year from the date of the last sexual harassment incident to file a claim. If you want to first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you must do so within 180 days of the last harassment incident.
Q:I Want to Stand up for Myself, but Will I Have to Go to Trial?
A:Our firm makes every effort to resolve a legal matter before filing a complaint in court, or taking it to trial. Sometimes, trial is required in order to obtain the justice you deserve. If this is the case, your legal team will be there to guide you through the process and make sure you are comfortable with all proceedings.
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