Discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable. And one of the most common and frightening forms of illegal workplace discrimination is sexual harassment. We hope you have not been exposed to this type of misconduct at work, but if you have, we can help you. The Law Office of John Dalton aggressively fights against employers that abuse their power and neglect their responsibilities to create safe working environments. Contact us today.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Employers and individuals in your work environment commit sexual harassment when they engage in sex-based activities that are unwelcome. There are two categories of this unwelcome and illegal behavior:
- Quid pro quo – when your employer makes you endure unwelcome, sex-based behavior in exchange for continued work benefits or new work benefits; and
- Hostile work environment – when the harasser’s unwelcome, sex-based behavior is so serious or pervasive that a reasonable person would call your work environment hostile.
Either form of sexual harassment can be incredibly damaging in many ways. Sexual harassment can devastate a victim’s physical health, mental health, financial well-being, and professional success.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
While there are two categories of sexual harassment, there are countless ways that this unlawful behavior crops up in offices and job sites. Types of sexual harassment many employees see at work include:
- Jokes about someone’s sex;
- Touching without consent;
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for work benefits;
- Insults based on someone’s sex;
- Displays of graphic, sex-based images;
- Comments about someone’s body parts or physical appearance;
- Repeated and unwanted requests for dates;
- Exclusion of employees based on sex;
- Comments containing offensive generalizations about sex or gender;
- Invasions of others’ personal space;
- Graphic physical gestures;
- Name-calling based on sex;
- Sexually explicit conversations or questioning; and
- Exposures of intimate body parts.
This list does not include every possible type of sexual harassment, but it should show you that many sex-based workplace behaviors are unlawful.
If you feel uncomfortable aobut any sex-based behavior occurring at work, speak to a Lancaster sexual harassment attorney about your rights. In many cases, you can file a complaint or a lawsuit to stop sexual harassment and receive relief and compensation for what you have lost.
When Is My Employer Responsible for Sexual Harassment at Work?
Your employer is legally responsible for a supervisor’s harassment that results in an adverse employment action (e.g., job termination or demotion). Your employer is also liable for hostile work environment harassment that comes from an employee or a non-employee if:
- Your employer had control over the harasser;
- Your employer knew or should have known about the harassment;
- You did not unreasonably fail to use your employer’s procedures to prevent or correct the harassment; and
- Your employer failed to properly handle the harassment.
Regardless of your situation, do not be quick to assume that your case is not viable. If you file a harassment complaint, the government looks at your whole case record before it determines liability.
Taking Legal Action Against Sexual Harassment
Navigating sexual harassment lawsuits and complaints can be daunting, but it’s necessary to hold your harasser and employer accountable. There are several steps you should take to file your complaint, and we can walk you through them.
Step One: Tell Your Harasser that Their Actions Are Not Welcome
To maintain a sexual harassment complaint or lawsuit, you must prove that your harasser’s actions were unwelcome. This usually means that you need to tell your harasser to stop their behavior. It is even more useful if you can give your harasser written notice that they must stop.
Sometimes, the circumstances of your work or the harassment can make confronting your harasser nearly impossible. If it is too difficult to challenge your harasser, submit a written complaint to a supervisor or human resources.
Step Two: Collect Evidence
You need to start collecting any evidence you have of sexual harassment as soon as it occurs. Evidence can include:
- Witness information,
- Detailed notes of each incident of harassment,
- Personnel records,
- Copies of complaints,
- Disciplinary records,
- Commendations, and
- Employer policies.
Your Lancaster sexual harassment attorney should be able to gather any relevant and necessary evidence you are unable to access on your own.
Step Three: File a Formal Harassment Complaint at Work
To hold your employer accountable for many kinds of harassment, you have to prove that your employer should have known about it and that you didn’t unreasonably fail to use employer procedures to prevent or correct the harassment. Immediately after enduring and rejecting workplace harassment, research your employer’s complaint procedures and use them. And if your employer does not have a complaint procedure, send a written complaint to your supervisor or human resources about the harassment.
Step Four: File a Government Complaint or Lawsuit
To take legal action against your employer or harasser, you need to file a complaint with the state or federal government. You file federal complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). And you file state complaints with California’s Civil Rights Division (CRD). You must file an EEOC or CRD complaint and receive a Notice of Right to Sue/Right-to-Sue Notice before you can initiate a civil lawsuit.
Usually, you have 180 days to file an EEOC complaint and three years to file a CRD complaint. And your employer must have at least 15 employees if you want to file an EEOC complaint.
We Can Fight for You
You do not have to fight sexual harassment alone. At the Law Office of John Dalton, Lancaster sexual harassment lawyer John Dalton is dedicated to empowering and protecting mistreated employees. John fights aggressively against workplace misconduct, and he has recovered millions for victims of harassment. If you need help, contact our firm today.