San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney
San Diego is an amazing place to live and work. But not if you are being sexually harassed.
You have the right to feel safe wherever you are—work, church, school, your union office, or anywhere you seek professional services. Sexual harassment is illegal, and no one, including you, should have to deal with it.
If you want help, meet with Boucher LLP’s team of experienced sexual harassment lawyers in San Diego to discuss your legal options.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
You know in your gut that what happened was wrong, but you may be wondering if it qualifies as sexual harassment.
The law defines sexual harassment as requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, or unwanted verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature. At work, it unreasonably interferes with your work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
The harasser also may seek a quid pro quo. This means they ask for sexual favors in exchange for work benefits, or they threatened negative employment consequences if you do not give in to unwanted sexual advances, demands, or conduct.
It does not matter if the behavior is based on sexual desire. The harasser also does not have to be a superior or even an employee. More often than not, however, the harasser is abusing a position of power, which can make it more difficult to confront him or her.
Sexual harassment can happen to individuals of any gender by someone of any gender. In some cases, the person being harassed isn’t even the one who files a sexual harassment claim. If you witnessed harassment directed at someone else and were negatively impacted, you may have a legal claim.
If you are ready to discuss filing a sexual harassment complaint, consult the San Diego sexual harassment attorneys at Boucher LLP.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Harassed At Work?
We know it’s hard to speak up. But you should tell your supervisor or human resources department.
California law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct harassing conduct and to create a workplace free of harassment. If you are worried about facing your employer or are concerned they will retaliate against you for making a complaint, you can contact an attorney first for help.
If your employer does not completely resolve the issue, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH enforces California’s civil rights laws, such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
FEHA prohibits sexual harassment in businesses, labor organizations, and employment agencies. It also holds employers accountable for harassment by employees if the entity or supervisor knew, or should have known, about the inappropriate conduct and failed to immediately take sufficient corrective action.
A sexual harassment lawyer can help you file a DFEH complaint, but you do not have to have one. It is a good idea to consult a San Diego sexual harassment lawyer at this stage, though. They can advise you whether to let DFEH address your complaint or whether to request a right-to-sue notice.
Filing a lawsuit allows your San Diego sexual harassment attorneys to assert the legal claims most applicable to your specific situation. In addition to FEHA and other California laws and regulations governing sexual harassment, there are federal laws that prohibit this conduct.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment in companies with fifteen or more employees, labor organizations, employment agencies, and private membership clubs with twenty-five or more employees.
How Can a San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney Help Me?
A lawyer is your advocate, so you do not have to take on your harasser alone.
The San Diego sexual harassment lawyers at Boucher LLP know the law, the process, and how to navigate the system. We will be by your side, advising you, while you make the right choices for your case and your life.
If you lost your job, the lawyers at Boucher LLP can help you decide if you want to fight for reinstatement or for compensation while you search for a new job.
Your attorney also will help you make sure you file your complaint on time. California law requires you to file your complaint with DFEH within three years of the harassment occurring. After you receive your right-to-sue notice, you have one more year to file a lawsuit in court.
Finally, based on our experience and knowledge of the law, our team of attorneys can advise you on the proper parties to sue and the damages you should seek.
What Happens After I File a Lawsuit?
Even before you file a complaint in court, your attorney will begin collecting evidence to support your case.
This includes things like:
- Witness statements;
- Documents, emails, and messages reflecting harassment;
- Wage statements;
- Benefit information;
- Your employer’s sexual harassment policy and procedure documents; and
- Medical and psychological records.
Once the case begins, both sides will conduct discovery. This means they will obtain documents and other evidence from relevant parties and witnesses.
You may have to be deposed (interviewed) by the other side’s attorney, but your lawyer will be by your side preparing you for and supporting you throughout the deposition process.
At some point, the judge will schedule a settlement conference. Though your harasser will be there, so will your attorney.
The judge will put the parties in separate rooms along with their attorneys to discuss confidentially what you would need from the other side to agree to settle the case. Having a sexual harassment lawyer from the San Diego area is helpful because your lawyer likely will know the process.
If you don’t settle the case, eventually you will go to trial. Your attorney will present evidence and witnesses that demonstrates you were sexually harassed, the harm you suffered, and the compensation to which you are entitled as a result.
Boucher LLP’s team of experienced trial attorneys will make sure you know what to expect and are ready. You may have to testify, but you will not be alone.
And by bravely bringing your harasser’s actions to light, you can prevent others from enduring the same or similar treatment. If an employer or other entity was allowing it to happen, you will also force them to face consequences and change their policies.
Why Should I Contact Boucher LLP When I Am Ready to Take the Next Step?
The attorneys at Boucher LLP have worked with numerous survivors of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, and we know how traumatic it can be. Having taken on the Los Angeles Archdiocese on behalf of clergy sexual assault victims, we have seen how difficult it can be for survivors, who in many cases were speaking out for the first time, to revisit the trauma of the sexual abuse they endured.
We were there for our clients every step of the way as they took back their power and held the archdiocese accountable for failing to protect them from sexual predators within the clergy. In many cases, the empowerment and closure that came with the resolution of their case was life-changing.
Our San Diego sexual harassment attorneys have handled many other high-profile cases and obtained significant verdicts and settlements.