Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 3 minutes

Sexual harassment is harmful and illegal, and it should not happen. But it can be challenging to know what to do if you encounter a harasser at your job. You do not have to worry about what steps you should take next when you have a skilled sexual harassment attorney by your side who can stand up for your rights and hold your harasser accountable. At the Law Offices of John Dalton, we use our decades of experience to aggressively protect victims of workplace mistreatment. If you need a strong advocate who can guide you through how to handle sexual harassment in the workplace, we hope you will give us a call. 

Identifying Sexual Harassment

When you encounter inappropriate behavior at work, you should speak with us right away about your legal rights and how to assert them. Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (VII) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) define sexual harassment as unwelcome, sex-based conduct that takes on one of the following forms:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment — this occurs when your employer or a supervisor requires you to accept, or tolerate, unwanted sexual advances, sexual requests or just sexual conduct in exchange for work benefits, or just to keep your job; and 
  • Hostile work environment sexual harassment — this occurs when unwanted workplace behavior based on sex or gender is so pervasive or severe that a reasonable person would call your workplace hostile. 

Depending on the circumstances, employers can be liable for harassment committed by supervisors, non-supervisor employees, clients, and patrons.

Whether harassment fits into the hostile work environment or quid pro quo category, it can come out in many unpleasant ways. You might be a victim of unlawful harassment if you have been subjected to non-consensual touching, comments about physical appearance, name-calling, offensive joking, unwanted romantic requests, request for dates or to “get together,” displays of graphic material, derogatory, gender-based names, or stereotyping statements. And remember if you are direct victim of the harassment, just knowing of the harassment of other employees, is part of your harassment case as well. 

What Should I Do If I Am Being Sexually Harassed at Work? 

If you are scared and unsure about how to react when someone begins sexually harassing you, or others, at your workplace, we understand. Dealing with sexual harassment at work is difficult and often disconcerting. Below, we have outlined steps you can take to eliminate the harmful behavior and recover the legal remedies you deserve. 

Step One: Consult with an Attorney

Speaking to an attorney should be your first move as soon as you are a victim of, or witness, any type of sex-based discrimination. No matter how blatant or subtle the misconduct, harassment cases are difficult and stressful to navigate. This is why the advice and guidance of an experienced lawyer are vital. John Dalton has handled hundreds of sexual harassment cases in the State of California, and he can help ensure that you have everything you need to hold your harasser and employer accountable for their misdeeds.  Please give us a call, or contact us online.

Step Two: Gather Evidence

To combat an employer or harasser’s attempts to discredit your story, it is a good to have solid evidence to prove what you have endured. This evidence can include correspondence, personnel records, witness testimony, employer policies, and copies of complaint records. There are several types of evidence that you can gather on your own, but sometimes you need attorney help to access documents that are essential to proving your claim. We suggest you call, or email us, as soon as you can so we can help with this process.

Step Three: File an Internal Complaint

If a supervisor harasses you and then takes adverse action against you (demotion, termination, denial of a promotion, etc.), your employer is automatically liable for that supervisor’s behavior. But if someone who is not a supervisor or not an employee mistreats you in the workplace, you will likely need to file a complaint with your employer before it can be held responsible for the damages. However, before making this complaint, it is important to contact us.

Step Four: File a Complaint with the Government or in Court

If you are sexually harassed at work, prior to filing a lawsuit, you must file an administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, now known as the Civil Rights Department of California or U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  However, before attempting this on your own, it is very important you contact us first.  You typically have 180 days to file an EEOC complaint and three years to file a DFEH complaint, but we highly recommend that you do not wait.  Call us!

When You Need an Attorney, Call Us

The Law Offices of John Dalton are where mistreated employees come to get results. John Dalton has been fiercely representing victims of employment discrimination for 27 years, and his successes are numerous. In fact, John has won some of the largest employment discrimination verdicts in the State of California. Our firm is passionate about championing the rights of workers across the state, and we want to be there for you in your time of need. You can call us at 858-720-8422 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

    “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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