Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 4 minutes

The state of American workplaces is disheartening. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 38% of women and 14% of men have reported experiencing sexual harassment at work. And in some industries, 90% of women say they have been sexually harassed. Moreover, 60% of women report experiencing “unwanted sexual attention, sexual coercion, sexually crude conduct, or sexist comments” at work. Unfortunately, research also indicates that at least 70% of sexual harassment victims never report misconduct. 

The victims of workplace sexual harassment deserve justice. If you have been exposed to unwelcome, sex-based behavior at work, you can protect yourself by filing a sexual harassment lawsuit. In California, you have multiple options for holding your harasser accountable, and the Law Office of John Dalton can help ensure you receive proper relief and compensation. John Dalton has more than 25 years of experience and has dedicated his practice to giving employees a powerful voice against discriminatory employers. 

Identifying Sexual Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act give you state and federal protections against workplace sexual harassment. These laws generally define sexual harassment as: 

  • An employer/supervisor demanding that an employee accept unwanted sexual proposals in exchange for benefits at work; or 
  • An individual in the workplace engaging in unwanted, sex-based conduct that is pervasive or severe enough that would affect the work environment of a reasonable person. 

Sexual harassment does not have to be sexually motivated to be illegal. Unlawful, sex-based harassment can include non-consensual touching, sexual comments, jokes, insults, slurs, biased comments, invasions of private space, comments on appearance, unequal treatment, disrespectful gestures, and indecent exposures. If you you even think conduct at your office is sexual harassment, the Law Office of John Dalton can guide you. Please call, or email, us immediately.

Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment

You have the right to receive financial compensation and other legal remedies for any harm you endure as a victim of sexual harassment. You can receive legal relief by filing a complaint or a civil lawsuit. If you choose to file a civil suit, you will likely have to take the following steps: 

  • Reject your harasser’s behavior,
  • Collect evidence of the harassment, 
  • File an internal complaint about the harassment,
  • File a complaint with the state or federal government, and 
  • File a lawsuit. 

Each of these steps can be vital to your sexual harassment case, so let’s discuss them below. 

However, it is of the utmost importance that you contact us before you embark on any of these course of actions.  It is easy to make mistakes or do the wrong thing when you are pursuing your rights.  

Click here to read more about the requirements of filing a workplace harassment lawsuit.

Your Harasser’s Behavior

The harasser’s behavior must be unwelcome.  You don’t necessarily have to complain about it for it to be unwelcome, but of course complaining about perceived sexual harassment is OK.  . At the first sign of harassment, tell your harasser to stop otherwise make it clear it is unwelcome.  If this is difficult to do because you are afraid of retaliation from the harasser, tell any manager or supervisor about what is going on.  Putting your complaint in writing is a good idea, but not mandatory.  Once you believe you are being sexually harassed, please contact us so we can guide you through the process. 

Collect Evidence

Please be careful when collecting evidence on your own.  Before you begin collecting evidence, please call or email us.  Evidence can include:

  • Emails,
  • Text Messages, 
  • Witness information, including contact information,
  • Detailed notes about each harassment occurrence, 
  • Correspondence,
  • Personnel records,
  • Pictures,
  • Wage records,
  • Copies of complaints,
  • Disciplinary records, 
  • Employer policies,
  • Other employer records,
  • Receipts, 
  • Medical records, and 
  • Invoices.

File an Internal Complaint

Before you file an internal complaint with your employer, it is important you contact us.  It is easy to make a mistake when making an internal complaint or say the wrong thing.  It is likely your employer does have an internal complaint process for you to follow in its policies. If your employer does not have a formal grievance process, submit a written complaint to your supervisor or human resources. 

File a Complaint with the State or Federal Government

Employees who wish to file sexual harassment lawsuits must first file complaints with either the state or federal government. You do not have the option to sue your employer or harasser until the government gives you notice that you have a right to sue. You may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

It is very important you contact us before filing a complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC.  The process can be complicated and it is very easy to make a mistake.  Please contact us first!

File a Civil Lawsuit 

In the vast majority of cases, we recommend you bypass the DFEH or EEOC process of investigation.  You can skip the investigation process and ask to receive an immediate right-to-sue notice from the DFEH or EEOC.  Again, to obtain the right-to-sue letter and file a lawsuit, are complicated processes and it is important to contact us first.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment? 

It takes time to heal from the destructive effects of sexual harassment, but you must move quickly to initiate legal actions that protect your rights. There are several complaint and lawsuit deadlines you have to meet if you want to recover legal remedies. To help make sure these deadlines are met, please contact us as soon as you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment. 

Time Limits for Government Complaints

If you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you normally have 180 days to file an EEOC charge. If state law also covers your complaint, you have 300 days to file an EEOC charge. And if you are a federal employee, you have only 45 days to initiate an EEOC charge. If you plan to file a complaint with the DFEH, you must do so within three years. You can initiate state and federal complaints at the same time (in fact, either agency will cross-file your initial complaint), but you must make sure that you initiate both within their respective timelines.

Before filing a complaint with a government agency, we strongly recommend you contact us. 

Time Limits for Lawsuits

If you are a state or private employee, you have 90 days after you receive an EEOC right to sue notice to file a lawsuit. And if you receive a DFEH notice, you have one year to file your lawsuit. 

Contact the Law Office of John Dalton Today

When your employer betrays its obligation to keep you safe from harassment, you need someone you can rely on. You can trust us at the Law Office of John Dalton to fight for your rights. Attorney John Dalton is passionate about protecting the California workforce, and he has recovered tens of millions of dollars for mistreated employees. Contact our office today for help filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in California. You can call us at 858-720-8422 or reach us online.

    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
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