Workplace Sexual Harassment
Orange County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Handling Sexual Harassment Issues in the Workplace
Employment law, discrimination, and sexual harassment cases require the representation of an Orange County workplace sexual harassment attorney with unique experience and skill. Harris Grombchevsky LLP has successfully handled numerous sexual harassment and employment law cases.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can range from women who are exposed to nude pictures by male co-workers to bosses who demand sexual favors in exchange for continued employment. While sexual harassment can take many different forms, all victims tend to feel violated, almost as if they had been raped. You should never have to suffer from sexual harassment. We can help you assert your rights by filing a claim.
Why Choose Our Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers in SoCal?
- For years, our firm has maintained a legacy of highest ethical standards
- We have recovered millions of dollars for clients
- Our team is backed by numerous 5-star reviews from clients
- Our employment law firm is highly respected by our peers
This firm originally started as in insurance defense firm, and this means we have insights into how insurers, businesses, and even Fortune 500 companies fight back against employment law cases. We know how to successfully assert your rights in the face of their tactics. Discover how our experienced, creative legal advocates can help you stand up for your rights.
Contact us online or call (888) 427-8064 for a free and confidential case evaluation with our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers at Harris Grombchevsky LLP. We serve clients in Orange and throughout Orange County.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This act applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Under the act, two types of sexual harassment are outlawed:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment - when an authority figure in the workplace requests a sexual favor or relationship in return for an employment action. For example, a manager says they will not give an employee a raise unless the employee agrees to go out on a date.
- Hostile Work Environment - when employees are exposed to unwelcome sexual conduct (physical or verbal) and it is serious enough that it affects the employees’ work conditions or creates an intimidating, abusive, or hostile work environment. Examples of this are derogatory, sexual images, jokes, or threats in the workplace.
Sexual harassment can happen to any employee and the victim and harasser can be of the same sex. The harasser may also be the victim’s direct supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a colleague, or even someone that is not an employee -- it may be a client or a customer.
Examples of Types of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
There are some types of behavior that are clear forms of sexual harassment such as unwanted touching, suggestive gestures, catcalling, and cornering an employee in a tight space. However, more subtle forms of sexual harassment also happen -- the examples listed below may be considered sexual harassment if they make an employee feel uneasy, intimidated, or distracted so that it disrupts their work.
Examples of sexual harassment:
- Repeated compliments on an employee’s appearance
- Sexual jokes
- Asking or discussing a person’s sex life in front of an employee
- Sending communications that are sexually suggestive
- Repeated unwanted physical contact -- hugs, hand on employee’s shoulder, back, etc.)
Sexual Harassment Victims in California
Being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can result in personal humiliation, embarrassment, and emotional distress. It can lead to compromised work performance, defamation of character or reputation, becoming the center of gossip, and even the loss of one's job or career and a loss of income. Victims of sexual harassment may suffer negative psychological and health consequences, such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, inability to sleep, eating disorders, alcoholism, and more.
How to Deal with Sexual Harassment at Work in CA
An employee that is the target of sexual harassment must at least remember to do two things.
- First, make sure the harasser clearly knows that their conduct is unwelcome.
- Second, make sure that the employer knows of the situation, preferably in writing. If the sexual harassment continues, it is important to speak with a Orange County workplace sexual harassment lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and make sure they are protected in your workplace.
Sex-based harassment that is not of a sexual nature, also known as gender-based harassment, is also illegal. An example of this would be a supervisor who makes frequent derogatory comments about women and constantly refers to female employees using slurs or offensive language. It is also possible to be sexually harassed by a member of the same sex; if the offensive conduct occurred because of your gender, it fits the legal definition of sexual harassment.
Contact a Orange County sexual harassment attorney at Harris Grombchevsky LLP by dialing (888) 427-8064. Get experienced legal assistance for your case.
Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment in California
Employers can be held liable for a supervisor's sexual harassment regardless of if they were aware of the supervisor's harassment. A supervisor's sexual harassment need only occur once to make a quid pro quo case, it is not necessary that the harassment be ongoing. While most quid pro quo cases involve heterosexual harassment, they can also take the form of same-sex harassment.
Compensation for Workplace Sexual Harassment in California
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace anywhere in the Orange County area, from Orange County and San Diego to Los Angeles and Riverside, you should be made aware of your legal rights under California and federal law.
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act protects individuals from sexual harassment at work. No one should have to put up with workplace sexual harassment. Beyond this, sexual harassment is unlawful and you may seek compensation for damages. Compensation may include back pay, front pay, policy changes, actual damages, damages for emotional distress, attorney fees, and punitive damages. No limit exists on the amount of damages you may recover in a case of sexual harassment.
Categories of Sexual Harassment Claims
- Unwanted sexual advances: these claims usually consist of offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors, often referred to as quid pro quo.
- Hostile work environment: these claims can involve visual conduct such as displaying sexual pictures, verbal conduct such as making sexual comments or jokes, and physical conduct such as touching someone.
- Retaliation: these claims occur when an employer threatens or retaliates against someone for complaining about unwanted sexual advances or a hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in Orange County, CA
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to sexual conduct or favors in order to receive job benefits, an increase in salary, or job promotion. To establish a quid pro quo claim under Title VII of the EEOC an employee must prove the following:
- They were subjected to unwelcomed or unwanted sexual advances, conduct, or comments by a supervisor or someone with higher authority.
- The harassment was sexual in nature.
- The employee's reaction of the harassment affected tangible aspects of the employee's employment or compensation.
Sexual Jokes in the Workplace
Sexual joking in the workplace which is repeated or pervasive can be considered a form of sexual harassment. This type of behavior can include crude, sexually explicit jokes, stories or anecdotes about sexual activity which is considered "funny" by the instigator, and unwanted sexual discussions. If you have been the target of such behavior, initiated without your consent, and which you consider offensive, you may be involved in a case of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment.
Under such circumstances, you should let your employer know about the situation by alerting your supervisor or other appropriate workplace personnel, such as a human resources person, in order to resolve it. If your communication about the harassment is not taken seriously, is ignored, doesn't resolve the matter, or results in some type of retaliation against you, you should seek professional legal assistance.
Where to Report Sexual Harassment in California
If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment, it's important to report it as soon as possible to your employer or HR department. There are options if you would like to file a complaint in California.
Individuals who have experienced sexual harassment can file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (CCRD) or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, start a free case evaluation with an Irvine sexual harassment lawyer from Harris Grombchevsky LLP. Dial (888) 427-8064 or fill out our form.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a general term which refers to a varying range of unwanted sexual contact, from rape and attempted rape to fondling and forcibly touching an intimate part of another's body, even through clothing. It consists of touching another person in any way that is sexual and without that person's consent.
This crime may be accompanied by force, threats, violence, threats of retaliation, coercion, pressure, manipulation, and other duress. Basically, it amounts to almost any sexual behavior that produces discomfort, fear, or intimidation. The key component is that it is non-consensual. Under California law, in order to be considered consensual, sexual activity must have "positive cooperation" between the parties with the individuals acting "freely and voluntarily."
Reporting Sexual Assault in California
If you have been sexually assaulted in the workplace, you should report it to an appropriate person in the organization, such as a supervisor, human resources person, or other person you trust. Depending on the severity of the crime, it is your decision about whether to report it to law enforcement. In the case of rape or attempted rape, you should remember, however, that by doing so you may be helping to prevent future attacks on others by the offender. Because assault victims generally suffer trauma after such an incident, enlisting the aid of a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member who can provide emotional support during any organizational or law enforcement report may be vital.
Additionally, in the case of rape or attempted rape, many police departments and prosecutor's offices have trained personnel and programs for sexual assault victims. The National Center for Victims of Crimes provides especially helpful and pertinent information for sexual assault victims. If you do decide to report the crime to law enforcement, you will be required to undergo a forensic examination and will have to describe the incident to investigators.
Talk to a Orange County Sexual Assault Attorney
In any case of workplace sexual assault, you may wish to seek professional legal guidance. If so, we urge you to contact Harris Grombchevsky LLP to schedule a free, initial consultation with a Orange County sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. After reviewing and evaluating your situation, we can advise you on your legal rights and the proper course of action to take. Our firm has been assisting clients throughout Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside in these matters for more than 85 years. You will receive competent and caring legal service from an experienced Southern California sexual assault attorney.
Contact a Orange County sexual attorney at the firm if you need legal guidance concerning any type of workplace sexual harassment or assault.
Representing Sexual Abuse Victims in the Workplace
Sexual abuse can often start in the workplace. In many sexual abuse cases, the abuse comes from a person who is in a position of authority, influence, or power over the victim. Often the abuser is someone that the victim trusts, such as a mentor. In these cases, the victim may be afraid to speak out against their abuser out of fear, humiliation, or shame. They may even repress the memories of the abuse out of emotional or psychological distress or trauma.
Our Orange County sexual abuse lawyers offer comprehensive and compassionate legal assistance to victims of sexual abuse as well as sexual harassment. We have been in practice for many years and bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and skills to any case we represent. We are dedicated to seeking justice for victims of any kind of sexual abuse.
What is Considered Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse generally refers to forced physical sexual behavior perpetrated on the victim and may include sexual assault, rape, oral or anal sex, masturbation of either the offender or the victim, or sexual penetration by objects. This type of abuse generally creates psychological trauma in the victims. Victims of sexual abuse may suffer from nightmares, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, eating disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, and other forms of emotional distress or health problems.
Examples of Verbal Sexual Abuse in the Workplace
A one-time joke or comment may not necessarily be considered sexual harassment. However, if the severity of the abuse was enough to create a hostile work environment, affect your job, or cause harm, then you may have a case. If there has been consistent verbal sexual abuse, this likely will be considered sexual abuse.
Some examples of verbal sexual abuse in the workplace include:
- Sexual noises or sounds; catcalls or whistles
- Sexual remarks
- Obscene or offensive language
- Sexual jokes or sexual innuendo
- Asking about your sex life
- Asking for sexual favors
- Inappropriate compliments
- Sexual emails or sexually explicit images
If you suspect that a friend or family member has been sexually abused in the workplace anywhere in Orange County, from Orange County to Los Angeles or Riverside, you should not hesitate to consult with a Orange County sexual abuse lawyer at our firm.
If you or someone you know has been subjected to sexual abuse in the workplace, you should seek professional legal counsel from a Orange County sexual abuse attorney at Harris Grombchevsky LLP.
Call an Orange County Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Ours is one of the first employment law firms in Orange County. When you retain an Orange County workplace sexual harassment attorney from Harris Grombchevsky LLP, you can be sure of seasoned and effective legal representation. We will help you understand your rights as well as your legal options, guiding you through each step of the filing process so that you are protected from further harassment. Our firm has been practicing in Orange County for over 90 years and has the experience, determination, and reputation needed to get results.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law in California. Our legal team handles many workplace sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no legal fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you. We urge you to consult with a Orange County sexual harassment lawyer at the firm at your earliest convenience if you have been subjected to workplace sexual harassment or sex discrimination anywhere in the Orange County region from San Diego and Orange County to Los Angeles and Riverside.