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Attorneys Fighting To Hold Employers Accountable For Sexual Harassment

You don’t have to tolerate sexual harassment, and the illegal behaviors of a coworker or employer should not jeopardize your job or career. When you work with Employee Justice Legal Group PC you can fight back against sexual harassment with the help of our skilled employment law attorneys.

Our firm has earned a reputation for aggressive client advocacy, trial and litigation skill, and notable wins and settlements on behalf of those we represent. We have helped countless California workers resolve complex employment disputes, and we can help you too. To learn more, please contact us today to request a free initial consultation.

The Two Basic Types Of Sexual Harassment Claims

Sexual harassment violates both state and federal anti-discrimination laws. It’s a type of sex discrimination that involves unwanted sexual advances and/or conduct. Sexual harassment can generally be put into two categories:

Quid pro quo harassment: This is a Latin term meaning “this for that.” With quid pro quo harassment, an employment benefit or employment itself is conditioned on submitting to the unwanted sexual conduct or advance. As one example, a manager might offer a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors. As another example, your manager states you will be fired if you do not sleep with them.

Hostile workplace environment: The unwanted sexual conduct creates a hostile environment. The behavior is so severe or pervasive that it in effect changes the victim’s working conditions, making it very difficult or impossible to continue working there.

The work environment is considered hostile if the harassment is directed at you, you witness the harassment in your immediate work environment or if there is widespread sexual favoritism in your workplace.

Clear And Common Examples Of Sexual Harassment

While not an exhaustive list, the following behaviors are all examples of sexual harassment:

  • Your boss tells you that you won’t be promoted without sleeping with them
  • Witnessing your coworker in the next cubicle being subjected to constant sexual advances from the manager
  • Unwelcome touching, patting, or pinching by your boss, coworker or customer
  • Being subjected to sexually offensive images in the workplace
  • Being asked by your boss intrusive questions about your sex life
  • Being sexually assaulted in your workplace

Many try to downplay sexual harassment as just “being friendly” or “making conversation.” But there is a big difference between complimenting someone’s outfit or hairstyle and telling them how sexy they look. If you know you have been harassed, don’t let your harasser try to convince you that you misinterpreted their intentions or took their comments out of context.

Sexual Harassment Isn’t Necessarily About Lust

Many people mistakenly believe that sexual harassment is primarily about lust and lack of self-control. In reality, it is more commonly about exerting power over another person. Lust may have little or nothing to do with it.

Sexual harassment can be committed by someone of the opposite gender or the same gender as the victim, with no regard for either party’s sexual orientation. If a heterosexual man harasses another heterosexual man, it is still considered sexual harassment.

Moreover, victims and perpetrators may be of either gender. Although a disproportionate number of cases involve women being harassed by men, the reverse can and does occur. As noted above, same-gender sexual harassment is also a problem.

Sexual Harassment Can Quickly Escalate To Sexual Assault

You likely think of workplace sexual harassment as inappropriate comments, stares and crude gestures. That might seem miles away from sexual assault, but the former can quickly turn into the latter. As soon as unwanted physical contact is initiated, sexual harassment could be classified as sexual assault. This change is even clearer if the harasser corners the victim or makes it difficult to leave the room.

There is also the problem of “sexual coercion,” which is meant to blur the line between consent and lack thereof. Sexual assault in the workplace may not look like a violent rape, but it can still be assault and rape if you are made to feel like violence or retaliation will occur if you do not accept what’s happening or participate.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, approximately 80 percent of workplace sexual assault and rape victims are women. However, this is not solely a “women’s issue.” Workplace sexual violence against victims of any gender cannot be tolerated, and all employers have a responsibility to protect their workers and respond decisively to reports of harassment or assault.

Employment Attorneys Advocating For All Workers

Sexual harassment and assault in the workplace are prohibited under federal and state laws. Our attorneys use all relevant statutes to hold harassers and their employers accountable. When the victim of harassment or assault works in an educational setting, our lawyers can also pursue claims for Title IX violations, which prohibits sex discrimination and harassment in any educational institution that receives federal funding.

If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, you may have also been punished for reporting the harassment, in which case our attorneys can pursue a retaliation or wrongful termination claim on your behalf. Our firm also protects whistleblowers who expose systemic problems of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.

Contact Us For A Free Discussion Of Your Legal Options

You may not know how to respond to sexual harassment, and you may be worried about reporting your concerns to human resources. In either case, contact our firm to speak with one of our experienced attorneys in a free initial consultation. We can help you understand your rights and discuss next steps in your case.

To get started, call our Los Angeles office at 213-669-4771 or send us a message online.