You should never feel uncomfortable about coming to work. You should feel free to do your job safely and confidently. If you’re threatened or harassed on the job, you have the right to sue for compensation.
However, the law is complex in matters of job discrimination, especially when it comes to sexual harassment claims. To prevail in your lawsuit, you need to have a valid legal claim – one that shows clear evidence that your employer violated your workplace rights.
Where Can I Find A Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near Me?
Do you live in California? Are you asking, “Where can I find a sexual harassment lawyer near me?” Do you want to know more about the law concerning sexual harassment? If so, the following information will help you know when you need to discuss inappropriate workplace behavior with an attorney.
Sexual Harassment At Work Falls Under Two Definitions
Californians who experience sexual harassment at work may seek redress for one or two types of harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
This type of harassment happens when a supervisor demands sexual favors from an employee for a workplace benefit. This type of harassment may be expressed or implied and may involve a threat such as termination.
A Hostile Working Environment
Harassment in a hostile work environment happens when colleagues make inappropriate advances and comments based on a worker’s sex – to the point it makes it difficult for them to work. Harassment under a hostile work environment can involve two different sexes or the same sex. It does not have to be based on sexual attraction or desire.
Some employees may experience both types of harassment in the workplace. Besides bosses or colleagues, the harassment may come from a company owner, a coworker, a vendor, independent contractor, or a client. Therefore, employer responsibility for this type of harassment hinges on who in the company committed the violation.
Examples Of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
The following list includes what the law cites as inappropriate workplace behavior:
- Derogatory or degrading comments that include jokes or slurs
- Discussions of sexual acts
- Unwanted touching, such as “accidental” brushing against the body, including pats, pinches, or back rubs
- An offer of a workplace promotion based on a sexual request
- Getting fired or demoted after complaining about harassment
- Rude gestures or leering
- Giving an employee sexually suggestive items or materials or displaying them in the workplace
- Getting blocked in a hallway – unable to pass
- Receiving obscene invitations or messages
Federal law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace in accordance with Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. State law in California defines sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Filing A Lawsuit: What You Need To Know
If you file a lawsuit for sexual harassment in California, (click here to see a reputable sexual harassment law firm in California) you first need to file an administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This is done to get a right-to-sue notice. If the agency refrains from bringing a civil action itself from your filing a complaint, you need to obtain the notice.
The DFEH has a time frame of 150 days to comply. You can only file a sexual harassment lawsuit after you receive the notice of your right to sue. You also should file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment of Opportunity Commission. Filing complaints with the DFEH and EEOC are required before you can go ahead and seek damages from an employer.
Filing A Lawsuit Against An Employee/Employer
The perpetrator of a harassment is typically an employee who is personally liable for damages. It does not matter if the employer knew or didn’t know about the behavior.
Strict Liability Claims
In cases of sexual harassment, the victim can sue the employer for strict liability if the perpetrator, in this case, was a supervisor or the employer. The employer is still liable, whether or not they knew about a supervisor’s behavior or even if they took corrective steps in response to the behavior. The employer is also liable if they should have known or was aware of the harassment but did not respond immediately to the activity.
Employers often pay damages because California also has legislation in place that requires employers provide employees with information aboutsexual harassment in the workpalc. They are also required to include information about the misconduct in their company’s policy.
This policy must be written and list people who are protected from discrimination based on a specific characteristic that’s shared. These people, under the law, are known as protected classes.
Compensatory Damages For Workplace Sexual Harassment
As a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you may receive compensatory damages for pain and suffering and the harm the harassment did to yoru professional reputation. Damages may also cover any money you paid, out-of-pocket, because of the harassment. These costs may involve the expenses involved in seeking a job or what you paid for psychological or medical care.
Title VII Damages
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act delineates damages for workplace sexual harassment claims as follows:
- Lost pay and benefits you would have earned if you had not been demoted or terminated
- Compensation for reputational injury and emotional distress
- Punitive damages assessed for a company’s indifference or retaliation
- Future earnings that were lost because of the harassment
- Equitable relief – such as an order to reinstate the employee in their job
- The expenses involved in litigating the case
Damages are paid in varying amounts depending on the limits set by local, state, and federal jurisdictions and the details of the case.
The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Harassment Claims
While the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim, before January 2020, was only a year, Bill AB-9 in California changed the deadline to three years from the date of the most current harassing act. Therefore, you have 3 years from this date to file a complaint with the DFEH in California.
If you plan to file a complaint with the EEOC, you have 180 days to do so. However, if you’re filing claims with both the DFEH and EEOC, you have a 300-day filing time from the most recent harassing experience to file with the EEOC. After you receive a right-to-sue notice, you have one year to file the lawsuit with an attorney.
Speak To A Sexual Harassment Lawyer Right Away
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or are experiencing any form of discrimination now, speak to an attorney who specializes in these matters – someone who understands all facets of employment law. Take a proactive approach now so you can realize a successful outcome.