Orange County Sexual Harassment Attorney for Survivors
Have you experienced sexual harassment at work?
Unfortunately, despite laws designed to prevent it, sexual harassment continues too often. According to a study commissioned by the non-profit Stop Street Harassment, 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment.
Another study indicates that the problem is even worse in California.
The Center for Gender Equity and Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the nonprofit organization California Coalition Against Sexual Assault conducted a study that found that sexual harassment incidents are higher in California than the national average.
What Should Your Employer Do to Prevent Sexual Harassment?
Your employer is required to take steps to prevent sexual harassment at work.
California law requires all businesses with five or more employees to provide:
- One hour of training on sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention to nonsupervisory employees and
- Two hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers.
This training must be conducted at least once every two years. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides this training for free and online, so your employer has no excuse for failing to train employees about sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace. Every employee should be trained to avoid this disgusting behavior.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Many workplace behaviors can be sexual harassment including the following:
- Sexual comments or jokes,
- Unwanted sexually explicit gifts,
- Sexually explicit photos displayed in the workplace,
- Homophobic slurs,
- Flashing or indecent exposure, and
- Offensive remarks about a person’s sex.
Both federal and state laws prohibit workplace sexual harassment, and an employer that allows sexual harassment to continue can receive government penalties as well as a civil lawsuit.
Federal Sexual Harassment Law
At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that harassment includes not only sexual comments but also general derogatory comments based on a person’s sex. For instance, if a coworker frequently makes comments such as, “She can’t handle that assignment. We need a man for that job,” it would be considered sexual harassment. Infrequent teasing comments probably won’t meet the definition of sexual harassment. Title VII federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
State Sexual Harassment Law
The California Department of Fair Employment and Harassment also outlaws workplace sexual harassment, which it classifies into two categories.
Quid pro quo harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is a solicitation of sex in exchange for a benefit like a promotion or raise, or to avoid a penalty, such as getting fired. We’ve all heard of this form of harassment taking place across Hollywood, perpetrated by powerful men who solicit sex in exchange for advancing someone’s acting career.
A USA Today survey found that 94% of the women surveyed experienced sexual harassment while working in the entertainment industry.
Hostile work environment harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment is another form of workplace harassment. It occurs when unwanted sexual advances or other sexual conduct is so pervasive that it interferes with your job.
It usually requires repeated inappropriate sexual conduct to meet the definition of a hostile work environment. For instance, someone who stands close to your desk and makes sexual advances every day would meet this requirement.
Why Should You File a Sexual Harassment Claim?
Filing a sexual harassment claim gives you the opportunity to hold the person who harassed you accountable. Also, you can seek justice for the harm your employer allowed to take place in the office. You deserve a respectful workplace, and sexually inappropriate behaviors disrupt this environment. When you speak out against the person who harassed you, the workplace becomes safer for everyone. Filing a lawsuit allows you to use your voice to accomplish positive change.
When Should You File a Sexual Harassment Claim?
When filing a claim under federal law, you usually have only 180 days from the date of the harassment, though this statute of limitations extends to 300 days because of California law. A federal employee has only 45 days to file a claim.
Under Assembly Bill 9, a California state law, an employee can file a harassment claim with the Department of Fair Employment or Housing (DFEH) for three years after the harassment. Employees must file a complaint with the DFEH before they can file a civil lawsuit.
How Can a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Orange County Help You?
A sexual harassment lawyer helps people confront those who have harmed them and holds these abusers accountable.
Your sexual harassment attorney in Orange County will take these steps to bring forward your claim:
- Meet with you to learn your story, answer your questions, and explain your legal options;
- Gather evidence, such as photographs, emails, text messages, and witness statements to support your claim;
- Build a successful claim with a fair damages request;
- Negotiate with your employer for a settlement; and
- Take your case to trial if needed.
Sexual harassment lawsuits usually settle out of court because employers want to avoid the negative publicity and expense involved in a trial. A settlement can also include non-monetary provisions such as the requirement for your harasser to perform community service.
However, if your employer won’t agree to a fair settlement, experienced Orange County sexual harassment attorneys should take your case to trial.
Contact an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney in Orange County
If you have suffered sexual harassment at work, you don’t have to stay silent. You can confront the person who harassed you—and the employer who allowed it to happen—through a sexual harassment lawsuit.
To file a lawsuit, you need an experienced Orange County sexual harassment lawyer, which you’ll find at Boucher LLP.
Our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers represent individuals and groups of people who have been sexually harassed and abused. We go after the people who harmed survivors and the institutions who looked the other way while abuse happened.
Our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys are compassionate listeners and dedicated, zealous advocates. We will support you as you reclaim your voice to hold those who harassed you accountable.