Tag: sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment Attorney

The Signs of Sexual Harassment Are Not Always Obvious

Sexual Harassment: It’s possibly the most serious issue in the workplace. When sexual harassment occurs it disrupts the workplace, is costly in terms of morale/productivity, and leaves emotional (or sometimes physical) scars that can ruin careers. For employees, it is extremely important to recognize when sexual harassment is happening, and to know what can be done about it.

Although it may seem counter intuitive, it is not always obvious that sexual harassment is occurring. Most employees can recognize obvious sexual harassment. An employee that is being touched inappropriately or groped has a strong argument for being sexually harassed. The same goes when an employee’s co-worker consistently uses sexually suggestive language, whistles or makes other lewd noises, gives inappropriate gifts, tells jokes of a sexual nature or attempts to show that employee pornographic material. Often, the individual engaging in such behavior will laugh it off as a joke, or suggest that everyone is just part of the same group of friends and no one should take such action or language seriously. The fact is that sexual conduct, language, or insinuations are never appropriate in a workplace and most companies have written policies making that clear.

Sexual harassment does not stop at explicit words and actions, though. Often, employees are in an atmosphere of sexual harassment and don’t recognize it. Sexual harassment can be against both women and men, and some policies and even court decisions are starting to use the term “gender harassment” to cover inappropriate language or actions based on sexual orientation. Sexual harassment based on one employee’s sexual attraction to another is what most people think of, but often one employee may not like another because they are female or male, or because they are gay, lesbian or transgender. In those instances, sexual harassment may be harder to recognize.

In those cases, sexual harassment could take the form of demeaning language or a situation where an employee finds themselves constantly berated. They might be excluded from groups or major company initiatives and/or given fewer assignments. In companies where there are multiple offices and locations, an employee may suddenly be relocated, often to an office or territory that is less desirable. Instead of being excluded from good assignments, an employee may be given a very difficult, often impossible assignment. In these cases, sexual harassment is subtle and based on a dislike due to gender, and often designed to get an employee to quit.

What can an employee do if they feel sexually harassed? Experts advise not to quit, but rather fight back. This is not easy, and requires research and perseverance. Begin by finding, reading, and understanding the company policy against sexual harassment. Report any uncomfortable instances immediately in writing. In many cases, it is a subordinate engaging in behavior that can be construed as sexual harassment, so if a company has an HR department, make the complaint to them and not to a direct supervisor.  Reporting will often initiate an investigation, and anyone who feels sexually harassed should understand that a company must be an impartial agent, and investigate all accusations, interview all parties and listen to all sides. This is where perseverance comes into play. Continue to report instances and create a paper trail that shows a pattern. Ideally, the situation is resolved and the work environment improves. But in many cases, things don’t turn out that way. Anyone who suspects they are being sexually harassed can and should seek legal advice to protect themselves and their career.

If you are looking for a sexual harassment lawyer to protect your rights contact us for a free case evaluation at (949) 379-6250.

The Wolf of Humphrey’s County

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Wolf of Wall Street” depicts powerful men in high places living a life of sex and drugs. It seems a Humphrey’s County, Tennessee superintendent saw himself as one of DiCaprio’s men. Jimmy Long is now being sued by a bookkeeper for the school district, Teresa Smith.

Smith alleges in her suit that Long bragged about his open marriage and continually propositioned Smith for sex. The bookkeeper complained to county commissioners, as well as the Tennessee State Controller about the harassment. In her email complaint, Smith also accused the superintendent of misusing district funds for his own personal use, and allowed other, retired district officials to do the same.

The embezzlement of funds aside, the bulk of Smith’s complaints stemmed from Long’s overtly sexual behavior. Long grabbed Smith aggressively and in a sexually suggestive way. Often, he would make comments about Smith’s breasts and speak about sexual stimulation products he utilized.

Her complaints, Smith alleges, were continually ignored and eventually led to her termination. The suit seeks lost wages, lost benefits, lost future wages, compensatory and punitive damages.

In California, this falls under a classic case of hostile work environment sexual harassment. Long’s behavior toward Smith was pervasive and created a sexually charged working environment. Long was Smith’s superior, establishing liability on the part of the school district. She also reported the situation to over the superintendent’s house, but she was met with silence. If this situation sounds similar to you in California, don’t hesitate to give our Aegis attorneys a call.

The Price is Wrong

A California judge says a case against “The Price Is Right” should go to trial. A former model for the game, Lanisha Cole, show is suing the show’s producers and production company for sexual harassment and wrongful constructive discharge. The trial judge has denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and has scheduled a trial to begin May 21, 2013.

The plaintiff began appearing on the game show in 2003. She claims the alleged harassment started in December of 2009. At that time, she says one of the show’s producers stopped talking to her and began bestowing preferential treatment on another model with whom he was involved in a romantic relationship. Continue reading “The Price is Wrong”

$1.5M Sexual Harassment Win For Contract Phlebotomist

Aegis-Sexual-Harassment-AttorneysA Vista Superior Court jury awarded Kimberli Hirst $1.5 million for a pattern of ongoing sexual harassment an officer of the Oceanside Police Department. Kimberli was a contract phlebotomist who took blood samples from those accused of driving under the influence. She was employed by American Forensic Nurses.

The officer accused of the sexual harassment admitted to making inappropriate and suggestive comments, however he claimed that she invited the attention. The Oceanside Police Department and the City of Oceanside claim that the contract employee never complained of the harassment and they only learned of the offensive behavior when a security guard who overheard conversations between the contract employee and the male officer. Continue reading “$1.5M Sexual Harassment Win For Contract Phlebotomist”

Jury Awards $1 Million in Sexual Harassment Case

Jury-awards-Millions-sexual-harassment

A Los Angeles jury awarded over $1 million in damages to a former Merle Norman Cosmetics employee for finding that the company retaliated against her after she reported its two top officers for sexual harassment.  allegedly making sexually offensive remarks to her and a co-worker.

The victim, Stephanie Kelley, said that she initially felt comfortable at the cosmetic firm but things changed when her supervisor, Jack Nethercutt, started making sexually offensive remarks to her and a co-worker. Nethercutt inappropriately commented to Kelley about the attire of Sarah Tillman, her co-worker, stating Tillman should do more to show off her breasts. Continue reading “Jury Awards $1 Million in Sexual Harassment Case”