Riverside Sexual Harassment Lawyer

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Riverside Sexual Harassment Attorney

Have you been wronged by your employer? Please call Theory Law at (310) 500-0206 to speak with a Riverside sexual harassment attorney.

Sexual harassment is a very serious issue. If you’ve experienced such harassment in the workplace or you’re unsure if you have, consider reaching out to a Riverside sexual harassment lawyer. California employment law prevents any employers, supervisors, or co-workers of an employee from conducting sexual harassment towards them, contributing to a hostile work environment, or taking retaliatory action against a worker who reports or speaks up about harassment issues.

Employment law attorneys at Theory Law have handled various clients with cases of harassment claims, professional retaliation, and discrimination, among other legal matters in the workplace.

Our skilled legal team makes sure to put the client’s individual goals and needs first within each unique case. We work diligently to ensure that every individual who seeks law advice and representation from our office has access to an attorney along with modernized legal services.

Riverside Sexual Harassment Lawyer

What Is Workplace Harassment in California?

Harassment, in general, within the workplace is a form of discrimination, which is against state law outlined in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), in addition to being prohibited in federal statutes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination consists of an employee suffering mistreatment rooted in discriminatory behavior against one of their legally protected characteristics.

These protected characteristics, or classes, are an employee’s inherent traits such as their race, skin color, place of origin or ancestry, sex (including pregnancy and related health conditions), gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, physical or cognitive disability, and any other genetic information including family medical history.

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment in CA?

California law defines sexual harassment to be any actions or behavior against an employee that is sexual in nature and/or based on the worker’s sex, including their gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, or ability to become pregnant. Additionally, any sexual misconduct (whether direct or indirect) that contributes to a hostile, intimidating, and/or offensive environment in the workplace is considered to be harassment.

Some forms of workplace sexual harassment are more obvious than others, which are more subtle or implied. Even one instance of conduct involving sexual harassment is against the law and can affect an employee’s ability to perform their work duties. Sexual harassment can be overtly directed at an employee, but also witnessing the harassment or abuse of another worker is a form of sexual harassment that is equally as serious.

A work environment with persuasive or overtones of sexual harassment can be hostile and impact several employees along with their ability to adequately work, regardless of whether they endured or witnessed direct harassment or not.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Generally, sexual harassment in California is divided into one of two categories: quid pro quo or hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo refers to the direct or implied suggestion or threat of an executive act by an employer if the targeted employee refuses to submit to performing sexual favors, advances, or other conduct. The professional action may include that your hiring, continued employment, promotion or other work benefits are dependent on your submission.

Even one instance of quid pro quo harassment is enough to hold the employer responsible and to take legal action, even for employees who submitted to the employer’s offers or threats.

Sexual harassment that occurs through a hostile work environment is when the inappropriate behaviors are so pervasive or severe that they impact the conditions of your employment, unreasonably interfere with your ability to work, or contribute to an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. This definition means that an employee can experience and suffer from a hostile environment and harassment, even if it is not aimed at them specifically.

The following are some examples of behavior that would be considered inappropriate and sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Derogatory, graphic, and/or sexually degrading or suggestive comments, discussions, slurs, epithets, or jokes (whether directed at a targeted employee or openly within a shared workspace)
  • Leering or rude gesturing
  • Blocking or impeding your movements or walking path
  • Unwanted touching, such as “accidentally” brushing up against your chest or butt, similarly inappropriate pats or pinching, back rubs, etc.
  • Repeated unwanted sexual propositions
  • Offering employment or other job benefits in exchange for sexual favors
  • Threatening to take punitive professional actions for refusing to comply with a sexual request, such as getting work hours reduced, losing benefits, lowering pay rate, etc.
  • Getting fired, losing benefits, or other adverse results following making a formal or informal complaint about harassment in the workplace.
  • The display of sexually suggestive objects, visual media, posters, etc., in public or shared areas of the workspace
  • Any similar conduct as those listed above within an online public/shared workspace or between co-workers, such as through email, text messages, shared chats, calls, voicemails, etc.

How to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in California

If you believe you experienced or are continuing to experience sexual harassment at your place of work, it’s important not to ignore the problem or endure it. Not only should you not have to suffer such abuse or mistreatment simply to keep a job, but it’s also a violation of your rights as an employee and a citizen. Additionally, by speaking up you could be helping other victims from enduring further harassment as well as holding the offender liable for their actions.

The first step to take is possible: speak with the guilty party. Explain how their behavior made you uncomfortable and that it’s a form of harassment. If you can’t or prefer not to speak with them directly, you can report the incident to your supervisor or employer. California law requires employers to fulfill their duty to ensure their workplace is free from any harassment or discrimination in addition to taking sufficient action in efforts to correct or address the problem.

If your employer is the at-fault party or if, after telling them, no action was taken and/or the behavior didn’t stop, you can speak with someone in the HR department at your work. They can assist you in knowing what steps to take next, whether it be to file an official complaint or some other procedure that is outlined within the business’ policies.

After doing this, it may be wise to seek the legal counsel of a qualified attorney who specifically handles instances of workplace sexual harassment and other employment law issues. It is your legal right to file a claim against your employer in civil court if you wish to. Your employment attorney can help you through the entire process, including when filing, gathering evidence, and during legal proceedings, where they will represent your claim on your behalf.

FAQs 

Q: Are Sexual Harassment Cases Hard to Prove?

A: Sexual harassment cases can sometimes be difficult to prove, depending on the circumstances, such as available evidence and the employment law attorney’s capabilities. Often, the hardest element within a case of sexual harassment is proving that an isolated incident happened. If there is a lack of other employees to corroborate the presence of sexual misconduct, a case can be very difficult to prove.

Q: What Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Case of Harassment?

A: In order to prove a case of sexual harassment, crucial evidence includes any documentation of correspondence where there’s proof of harassment, such as sexually explicit messages or media in emails or text messages, particularly any that were immediately following an instance of in-person harassment. Additionally, witness and eyewitness testimonies can help speak to a hostile work environment or a specific worker’s pattern of harassment.

Q: What Damages Can You Recover in a Harassment Claim?

A: In a sexual harassment claim in Riverside and other areas in California, if the employees win their case by their attorney proving harassment occurred, they may be entitled to recover damages such as monetary compensation for emotional distress and lost wages, back pay or promotion, employment or reinstatement, and policy or procedure changes at the business. If the employer’s conduct was proven to have been malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent, the employee may also receive punitive damages.

Q: What Constitutes a Hostile Workplace Environment?

A: A hostile workplace environment entails an employee feeling uncomfortable, threatened, or intimidated because of pervasive or severe, sexually suggestive or obscene conduct. Additionally included is executive punishment for speaking out against harassment.

Examples include workers hanging up explicit or vulgar posters or photos in a shared workplace, unrelenting and unwanted physical contact, recurring and unwanted flirting, including leering or making rude gestures, and a pattern of mistreatment or routine teasing that goes beyond an isolated incident or casual humor/rudeness.

Don’t Endure Workplace Harassment, Hold Offenders Responsible, and Receive Compensation

At the law firm of Theory Law, our professional team is prepared to work diligently on your legal case so you get the most favorable outcome possible, given your unique circumstances. Our top priority is to focus on the individual needs of each client, whether they were wronged by an employer or a victim of a personal injury accident. Schedule a consultation for one of our attorneys to review your case.

How Can Theory Law Help You?

If you need help regarding a legal matter and would like to discuss it with an attorney, please call (310) 500-0206 or complete and submit the e-mail form below, and the attorney will contact you.

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