Employees have a legal right to a workplace environment that is not hostile. However, in some cases, coworkers and supervisors may act in a way that turns your place of employment into a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment is a common reason why this can occur. With workplace sexual harassment, coworkers or supervisors may target you with unwelcome sexual comments or advances. You could also experience a situation where your boss attempts to trade employment benefits for sexual favors, also known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. These actions are illegal under California and federal laws. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a claim for damages against your employer.
I was extremely stressed out about my termination, like literally sick, but Chris was always extremely positive and upbeat, and working with him turned me right around. He’s completely empathetic with you but flips the switch against the other side.Haley
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is the leading cause of employment law claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2018, 30 percent of claims in California involved allegations of sexual harassment.
There are two categories of sexual harassment in California. Under state law, sexual harassment may involve:
- Quid pro quo: Quid pro quo means “something for something.” This is where an employer offers you conditional employment terms in return for accepting sexual favors or advances. For example, your employer may offer you a raise in return for sexual advances or favors.
- Hostile work environment: This is where your employer’s unwelcome sexual conduct or remarks create a hostile work environment.
Both situations are common, and not always mutually exclusive. In some cases, an employee experienced both types of sexual harassment. What is important is that sexual harassment is illegal under state and federal laws.
Before speaking to a workplace harassment attorney, there are some caveats to remember. The affected employee cannot welcome the sexual conduct. In addition, the harassment must be frequent and severe enough to create a hostile work environment. Keep in mind, that sexual harassment can occur from members of the same gender. The genders of the victim and perpetrator do not have to be different.
How do I Report Workplace Sexual Harassment in California?
You have a couple of options for reporting sexual harassment. However, you should be aware that going to a supervisor or human resources can sometimes lead to retaliation. Before filing a report, you should compile any evidence of the sexual harassment. Emails, voicemails, witnesses and other digital evidence can be very helpful during the process. Once you have evidence, you are in an advantageous position to file a claim against your employer. Our employment attorney in Walnut Creek can review the evidence and help you determine your next steps.
Your first option is to report the harassment to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). On the DFEH website, you can find more information about the reporting process. Another option is to use the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An investigation may be necessary after you file your claim.
You should speak with a California employment attorney before beginning this process. An attorney can walk you through the most important steps for filing a report or lawsuit while protecting your job and reputation. Unfortunately, it is easy to make mistakes if you go about this process on your own. Don’t take that chance. Speak with an attorney.
For a consultation with our team, use our online case review form.
Our employment attorney in Walnut Creek can help you file a sexual harassment claim against your employer. Attorney Christopher Baudino is dedicated to helping workers who are facing discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
The Law Office of Christopher Baudino provides employment law services to workers in Walnut Creek and the Bay Area. Going up against your employer is a scary prospect. This is especially the case if you suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. After all, your livelihood and professional reputation are on the line. Chances are, your employer has more financial resources at their disposal to fight your claims. Christopher Baudino, our employment attorney in Walnut Creek, can represent your case and help improve the odds of obtaining a favorable outcome.
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