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Sexual harassment can immobilize anyone with fear. Victims may find themselves at work, school, or another space where they are supposed to feel safe when the unthinkable happens.
Many people face sexual harassment daily, but nobody should live this way. By working with a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney, you can hold the harassing parties accountable and ensure they do not victimize you or another individual again.
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Sexual harassment can occur in the places you’d least expect. Acts of sexual harassment include:
- Unwanted sexual advances/invitations
- Unsolicited touching
- Use of sexual innuendos
- Visual conduct, including sexual gestures, displaying sexually provocative pictures or objects, and inappropriate staring
- Detailing personal sexual exploits while in the workplace
- Indecent exposure
- Lewd comments, sexually explicit jokes, or comments concerning another person’s appearance, sexual activity, body, etc.
Sexual harassment can describe several acts. All of which leave victims and witnesses feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. Sitting down with a sexual harassment lawyer can kickstart the claims process to hold the offending parties accountable.
Sexual harassment is intimidating, overwhelming, and unsafe in an environment where you have the right to feel safe. If you’re being sexually harassed in the workplace, it is important to report it to your HR Manager as soon as possible. If your direct supervisor is harassing you, reporting the perpetrator to the correct ‘higher-up’ manager is important.
Make sure to document everything. Save inappropriate emails or pictures, write down moments where verbal harassment took place, and talk with potential witnesses to the harassment.
From there, you’ll be ready to contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Los Angeles to begin building your case. Please also contact us for a free consultation and advice if you don’t know how to handle the situation independently.
When you’re ready to pursue a sexual harassment claim, these tips on what to do will support you:
Report Behaviors to the Employer
The first step is to report sexual harassment to your employer if the harassment is in the workplace. Employers with over five employees must have a written code of conduct regarding sexual harassment. Whether you report the behaviors to the senior employer directly or to HR, do it in writing.
File Administrative Claim
Right to Sue
After filing the administrative claim with either or both organizations, you can ask them to investigate or request a “right to sue” letter. This is a mandatory step in the claims process known as “exhausting your administrative remedies”.
After obtaining the “right to sue” letter, you can formally begin the process of a sexual harassment claim in court. Consult with a sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles to learn more about the next steps for your case.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) does not require a minimum number of employees for a person to pursue a sexual harassment claim.
Many California courts require the harassment to be more than an isolated or sporadic act. However, a severe or physical act is often considered sexual harassment.
California law states that an employer who harasses an employee faces strict liability for damages. If another employee creates a hostile work environment, the employer may face liability if they knew of the harassment but failed to take appropriate action.
California law recognizes quid pro quo harassment as scenarios where a superior individual (i.e. a manager or even a school superior) will tell the employee, student, etc. to trade sex to keep their job or get a promotion/raise. This form of harassment does exist but is less common.
A hostile work environment is the most common form of sexual harassment. This occurs when an extensive pattern of harassment continually terrorizes the employee.
According to the Center for American Progress, the industries where sexual harassment is most prevalent are as follows:
- Accommodation and food services – 23%
- Retail sector – 44%
- Manufacturing – 72%
- Health care and social assistance – 48%
- Administrative and support and waste management and remediation – 92%
- Public administration –48%
- Professional, scientific, and technical services – 73%
- Transportation and warehousing – 94%
- Finance and insurance – 98%
- Educational services – 98%
Accommodation and food services and retail trade are the top two services. In fact, 90% of women working in restaurants reported unwelcome advances and harassment, while 70% of men in the restaurant industry reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment throughout their careers.
Trying to make a living should not put you at risk of sexual harassment. If you experience some form of sexual harassment at work, we invite you to talk to one of our understanding Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers. We treat all our clients with the utmost care, understanding and support and fight for you.
Whether you’re reporting one singular incident of sexual harassment or multiple, gathering evidence is vital. Some of the most important evidence you can use to build your sexual harassment claim includes:
Documentation of Complaints to Employer
Once you’ve reported the incident to your employer or HR Manager, we can help you successfully file a sexual harassment claim. Make sure you have a paper trail proving inappropriate correspondence. It is also important to save the employer’s responses. It is crucial for your claim if they promised to do something about the situation but didn’t.
Saving Every Message From the Harasser
Save everything improper, whether you receive emails, photos, or texts from your harasser. Consider moving them to a folder on your computer or printing out the messages. Your lawyer and the court will want to see evidence of the harassment.
Often, there is more than one person witnessing acts of harassment. Be sure to talk to eyewitnesses who will see the harassment and get their contact information. A witness testimony can be beneficial for your sexual harassment case.
Sexual harassment can leave anyone feeling unprotected and outraged. If you or a loved one suffered or is suffering sexual harassment at the hands of an employer or someone else, consider filing a claim. A sexual harassment claim can bring the accountable party to justice and provide some compensation for the mental anguish and suffering you endured.