Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that one should never ignore or tolerate. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, you have the right to seek legal help to protect your rights and hold the perpetrator and employer accountable. At Boucher LLP, we understand the sensitive nature of these cases and are here to provide compassionate legal support.

Understanding Sexual Harassment in California

Sexual harassment is defined in California law as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or offensive work environment. California law prohibits sexual harassment in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and compensation. It is important to work with an experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney who can help you understand your legal options. 

Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers

Examples of Workplace Sexual Harassment

It’s important to note that sexual harassment can occur between any individuals in the workplace, including coworkers, supervisors, managers, clients, customers, or vendors. Employers have a legal obligation to prevent and address sexual harassment and should provide training, policies, and procedures for handling complaints and investigating allegations of harassment. 

Employees who experience sexual harassment have the right to report the behavior and seek legal remedies to protect their rights and safety in the workplace. If you have any questions as to whether or not your experience constitutes sexual harassment, a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can help. 

Examples of workplace sexual harassment can vary but generally fall into several categories.

Verbal Harassment 

This includes unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, sexual jokes, innuendos, or explicit remarks about a person’s body, appearance, or sexual activities. Making sexual comments about a coworker’s appearance or clothing, telling sexual jokes or stories that are offensive or inappropriate in the workplace, or using derogatory or sexually explicit language to describe a colleague would all constitute verbal harassment.

Physical Harassment

Physical harassment involves unwanted physical contact or advances of a sexual nature. Inappropriate touching—such as grabbing, groping, or patting someone’s body—constitutes physical harassment. Other examples include hugging, kissing, or other physical gestures that are unwelcome and of a sexual nature. Also, blocking someone’s path, cornering them, or invading their personal space in a sexual manner also qualifies as physical sexual harassment.

Visual Harassment

This type of harassment involves displaying or sharing sexually suggestive or explicit images, videos, or materials in the workplace. Examples include sharing sexually explicit emails, texts, or social media messages. Displaying pornographic or sexually suggestive materials or images using computer screensavers, posters, or other visual media may also qualify.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority or power makes employment decisions based on the acceptance or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances. Examples include offering promotions, raises, or favorable work assignments in exchange for sexual favors. The opposite is also true. If an employer threatens demotion, termination, or negative employment consequences if you reject sexual advances, these negative consequences also qualify as quid pro quo harassment.  

Hostile Work Environment

Employees or supervisors who allow or perpetrate pervasive or severe sexual conduct, comments, or behavior contribute to an intimidating, offensive, and hostile atmosphere for employees. Examples include displaying or allowing the following types of behavior: 

  • Repeatedly making sexually explicit or offensive comments or jokes that cause discomfort in others, 
  • Displaying sexually suggestive or offensive materials that create a hostile or uncomfortable environment, or 
  • Engaging in discriminatory behavior or harassment based on a person’s gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Any of these actions can lead to a hostile work environment.

State Laws Against Sexual Harassment

To have a valid claim for sexual harassment, your employer or someone at work must have violated a statute or rule against such harassment. California has a number of laws pertaining to sexual harassment in the workplace. These include: 

  • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): California Government Code Sections 12900 through 12996 specifically prohibit sexual harassment in employment. FEHA defines sexual harassment as including both quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment.
  • California Civil Code Section 51.9: This statute provides additional protections against sexual harassment in certain business, service, or professional relationships, such as doctor-patient, lawyer-client, or teacher-student relationships.
  • California Government Code Section 12950: This section of FEHA outlines the prohibited practices in employment, including sexual harassment. It mandates employers to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassment and provides avenues for employees to file complaints and seek remedies.

It’s important to note that California law prohibits retaliation against employees who report or oppose sexual harassment in the workplace. By law, employers must investigate complaints of sexual harassment promptly and take appropriate corrective action to address and prevent further harassment.

Understanding these statutes is crucial for both employees who have experienced sexual harassment and employers who have a legal obligation to prevent and address such conduct in the workplace. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or need legal guidance on compliance as an employer, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney.

Legal Action

If you are in the workplace and sexually harassed, it’s important to take action to protect yourself and prevent further harm. Let’s look at the general process for seeking legal action.

  • Document the incidents. Keep detailed records of the harassment, including dates, times, witnesses, and any evidence such as emails or messages. 
  • Report to HR. Notify your Human Resources department about the harassment. They are legally obligated to investigate and take corrective action.
  • File a charge. If the harassment persists or the company fails to address it adequately, you can file a charge with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Consult with an attorney. Consult with an experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney who can assess your case, provide legal advice, and represent you in negotiations or legal proceedings.

Lawyers for sexually harassed employees are critical allies as you seek justice. 

Why You Need a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney

Hiring a skilled Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney is crucial for several reasons. An attorney understands California’s sexual harassment laws and can navigate the complex legal landscape on your behalf. Your attorney will protect your rights throughout the process and advocate for the best possible outcome. They can persuasively negotiate with employers or represent you in court to seek compensation for damages, including emotional distress, lost wages, and punitive damages.

Contact Boucher LLP Today

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Boucher LLP. Our experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys and staff are dedicated to fighting for justice for our clients, and holding perpetrators accountable. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and take the first step towards protecting your rights and dignity.