California Sexual Harassment Lawyer for Survivors
No one should have to experience sexual harassment. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. And it can be difficult to talk about because often the harasser is in a position of power. Whether it is a boss, clergy member, doctor, or someone else, it is wrong.
If this sounds familiar to you, the California sexual harassment attorneys at Boucher LLP can help you take back your power over the situation.
Standing up to a sexual harasser and holding the institution that enabled the harassment to account not only improves the situation for you or your loved one, it also prevents the person from harming others in the future.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment may involve unwanted verbal or physical contact that is sexual in nature, requests for sexual favors, or unwanted sexual advances.
It is sexual harassment when this conduct is coupled with the harasser doing one of the following:
- Making it explicitly or implicitly clear that your employment is conditioned on allowing the conduct to happen;
- Asserting explicitly or implicitly that employment decisions will hinge on whether you accept or reject the conduct; or
- Acting with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with your work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
This behavior does not need to be based on sexual desire. Often sexual harassment involves someone abusing a position of power.
Regardless of the motivations behind the inappropriate behavior, if it is directed at a co-worker, subordinate, or even a non-employee, it is sexual harassment, and it is against the law.
Sexual harassment can happen to individuals of any gender. The harasser also may be of the same gender as you.
In some cases, the person being harassed isn’t even the one who files a sexual harassment claim. If offensive conduct directed at someone else affected you, you may still have a sexual harassment claim.
What Laws Prohibit Sexual Harassment in California?
Sexual harassment is illegal under federal and California law.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment. This law applies to companies with fifteen or more employees, labor organizations, employment agencies, and private membership clubs with twenty-five or more employees.
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the California Civil Code, and state regulations also protect against sexual harassment in the workplace and other similar settings.
FEHA applies to 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 conduct and failed to immediately take appropriate corrective action.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work?
California law requires companies to have anti-harassment policies, so the first thing you should do is tell someone at work.
You may tell the human resources department, your supervisor, or even the harasser’s superior. If you are worried about facing your employer or are concerned they will retaliate against you for making a complaint, you can contact a sexual harassment attorney first for help.
If the company does not resolve your complaint, the next step is to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
You don’t need a lawyer to do this, but it’s a good idea to get the help of a California sexual harassment attorney. At this point, you can let the DFEH try to address your complaint or request a right-to-sue notice.
The DFEH enforces only certain laws, but if your case is covered by one of them, the DFEH will investigate the facts. They will talk to your employer and review the evidence. They may even schedule a mediation.
An experienced sexual harassment lawyer in California can help you figure out if a DFEH complaint is the best way to address your sexual harassment case or if a lawsuit would more effectively protect your rights.
How Can a California Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help?
Pursuing a sexual harassment claim is important but can be emotional. Lawyers who work in a California sexual harassment law firm have experience with the process and know what you are going through. We can help you collect evidence to support your claim so you don’t have to do it alone.
Our team will help you figure out the parties to sue and how long you have to file a complaint. California law requires you to file your complaint with DFEH within three years after the harassment occurs. You then have one year after receiving your right-to-sue notice to file a lawsuit in court.
Should I Take My Harasser to Court?
Yes. Having the courage to take legal action will help you and others. With the help of a sexual harassment lawyer, California law allows you to recover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are actual costs you incurred such as medical and psychological care, lost earnings, and lost profits.
Noneconomic damages are compensation for the emotional turmoil you experienced. This type of compensation recognizes that sexual harassment can cause emotional distress, post-traumatic stress, and ongoing mental suffering.
By pursuing a lawsuit, your California sexual harassment attorney will also help you expose what your harasser did in public. This is beneficial for several reasons.
First, it makes the harassment stop. Second, it protects others that person would have harassed in the future. Finally, it makes it difficult for the company, diocese, school, or entity that employed the harasser accountable for allowing the harassment to go on and keeps them from sweeping the matter under the rug.
Hopefully, in turn, the harasser will also have to face consequences at work for the wrongful conduct.
Just as importantly, your courage in seeking justice may empower others who have been sexually harassed to stand up for themselves.
Talk to the California Sexual Harassment Attorneys at Boucher LLP
When you look for a sexual harassment lawyer in California, you want someone who not only knows the law but knows how to tell your story.
Boucher LLP’s team of trauma-informed California sexual harassment lawyers treat our clients like family members. We understand how to make a jury relate to what happened to you.
The lawyers at Boucher LLP have handled many high-profile cases, including cases that established new legal rules in California.
They are known for their work standing up for the survivors of Los Angeles clergy abuse and have achieved favorable verdicts and settlements for sexual assault and harassment survivors. For our attorneys, it is as much about seeking justice and accountability as it is about obtaining compensation.
You shouldn’t have to suffer alone in silence anymore. Contact us online or call us at (818) 340-5400 today.