Workplace harassment can happen to anyone at any time. Unfortunately, a lot of the harassment goes unnoticed or unreported, often for many reasons. The employee may be fearful that she will not be believed and will lose her job due to the accusations, or there may be other negative repercussions from addressing the harassment. Sexual harassment is a major issue that must be fixed, but unfortunately, many victims avoid taking legal action. If you have been sexually harassed by a coworker, boss, customer, or other individual at your workplace, you may be able to file a lawsuit to collect compensation for your damages. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can make sure that you are treated fairly and that you receive ample restitution if you suffered sexual harassment at work. Our Oakland sexual harassment attorneys are some of the most qualified and experienced lawyers in the business, and we will stop at nothing to win your case.
Sexual Harassment Details
Legally, sexual harassment falls under sex discrimination, which is an act that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harassment can take place against any gender by any gender, and it may occur between any level of employee. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that you are not exposed to certain dangers as a worker, especially if those dangers are presented by fellow coworkers.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of ways. There are more overt and outright examples and actions, but subtle situations can also result in highly uncomfortable moments that are equally as invasive. Some forms of sexual harassment include:
- Facial expressions (winking, blowing kisses, lip-biting, tongue-wagging)
- Cornering and intimidating
- Sending or requesting explicit photos
- Requesting sexual favors for upward advancement at the company or for other work issues
- Making sexual jokes
- Insulting someone’s sexuality in some way
- Persistently changing the subject to sex and sexuality during discussions and meetings
- Inappropriate touching on any part of the body
- Requests for dates or for sex even after being rebuffed
- Using pet names (sweetheart, baby, honey)
- Revealing sexually explicit information or telling explicit stories
- Touching oneself in front of another person
- Rape and sexual assault
If you feel that you were sexually harassed at the workplace, you should take steps to correct the problem. It can be difficult to do so, especially if the perpetrator is a manger of some kind or if you feel as though you are discriminated against in various ways.
For more help, contact one of our San Francisco and Oakland sexual harassment lawyers. We will listen to your case and help you through the legal process.
Procedure after Harassment in the Workplace
You should be aware that there are steps you can take if you have been targeted at work and sexually harassed. There are also levels of liability depending on some circumstances with your case. For example, if the harassment was carried out by a superior (boss, CEO, district manager, etc), then the company is strictly liable for the damages. It is not uncommon for employees in these positions to be faced with requests for sexual favors and to be intimidated and have their subordinate status used against them. When employees are on the same level, or when harassment is carried out by other workers at different branches or by customers, the business is not strictly liable.
The best chance of success with your lawsuit can be found from having proper and quantifiable evidence. The more proof you have that you were sexually assaulted, the better your case will be. Here is what you should do if you have suffered sexual harassment at the workplace:
Record the dates and details of any and all sexual harassment. You should have meticulous notes about what happened.
You may be able to get the harassment to stop simply by talking with the perpetrator, but if he is unresponsive or if he persists, you may have to take other actions.
Go to your Human Resources department to file a complaint. You can send a follow up email so you have a paper trail showing that you contacted them and alerted them to the problem. The primary issue with going to HR is that they will often claim that they are handling the situation, but in reality, they may be trying to come up with ways to keep the trouble under wraps. In the most extreme cases, this can result in your wrongful termination. It is their job to protect the company, and sexual harassment claims that are brought to light could do serious damage
You can also tell your boss about the harassment in an attempt to have him take action, whether by suspending the perpetrator or taking steps to stop the discrimination. You should also keep the evidence of this conversation, even if it means asking for a follow up email.
You should try to catch the harassment in the act of happening with photos, videos, recordings, and more. In some cases, you might be able to procure the surveillance video footage shooting the discrimination. Hard evidence can heavily influence a case, as there are too many instances where sexual harassment claims consist of two sides disagreeing on what happened and telling different versions of events.
Coworkers may have witnessed the harassment occur, or they may have even experienced the harassment themselves at some point. You can have your coworkers provide you with testimonies and statements supporting your story. In some cases, if the harassment is particularly rampant or if the company has a history of allowing such behavior to occur you could join a class action lawsuit.
If you were harmed in some way from the harassment, such as being sexually assaulted or raped, you should have as much evidence from the doctor as you can showing any physical injuries and suffering, as well as medical expenses.
All of your evidence will be collected by one of our attorneys and submitted to be considered for your compensation. Talk with our Oakland sexual harassment lawyers for more details.
Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Harassment Claim
If you plan on filing a lawsuit for sexual harassment, you will have a limited amount of time to do so. You have to adhere to the guidelines presented by the state agency responsible for handling discrimination. In California, this is the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). It takes precedence over the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to the DFEH, you have 300 days to file a claim with the agency. These 300 days count down from the date of the harassment. Once the DFEH has investigated, they will determine if you have enough grounds to sue; if so, they will issue you a right-to-sue letter. You will then have 1 year from the date of the letter to sue your employer.
If the entity is governmental or municipal, then your statute of limitations is decreased to 45 days. Choosing to go by the EEOC will also limit your time, as you will have 180 days from the harassment to go through the same motions.
The statute of limitations must be adhered to or you will lose the ability to seek compensation for your damages. If you wait too long to take action, then there is a high chance key evidence will be lost – it is common for details to become foggy or for photos to get destroyed. Corrupt evidence is but one result of a delayed claim.
If you are unsure of how much time you have to file a lawsuit, you should contact our San Francisco and Oakland sexual harassment attorneys. We will be able to determine how much time you have left on your case and we will file your documents for you to ensure that everything is on deadline.
Earnings from Your Claim
Victims of sexual harassment lawsuits can receive ample compensation for their damages. We will make sure that you are covered for the following:
- Lost income from the past and future
- Loss of benefits, commission, tips, promotions, and other perks
- Reimbursement for wages you will lose due to not finding work for a certain period of time
- Pain and suffering to cover psychological trauma, PTSD, anxiety, fear, and other emotional troubles
- Medical bills in the event that you were physically harmed in an assault
Punitive damages are also available, which are monetary damages handed out to punish the defendant; they are often secured in times of gross negligence, when a party intended to harm you, or when your employer knew of the harassment and too know steps to stop it (or actively condoned or promoted it). They are often viewed as excessive, though, and only a skilled lawyer will be qualified to win them for you.
You should not try to handle a sexual harassment lawsuit by yourself. You may be too traumatized, hurt, or confused to move forward with a claim. You may not even have any legal experience at all. With the help of our sexual harassment attorneys in San Francisco and Oakland, you will be guaranteed the best representation available.
Our Firm: Here for Victims
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group has been handling discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits for years. We know the best methods to winning your case and will not stop until we are satisfied with the results. We are empathetic and always place our clients ahead of everything – we will make sure you are adequately protected and that you get the help and compensation you deserve. We will aggressively pursue your rightful restitution and will go to court if necessary.
Reach out to our offices for a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys. You can ask us anything you wish and we’ll give you our input on what we believe we can win for your case. If you want to hire us, we’ll also give you our zero fee guarantee. This promises that you won’t spend any of your own money on the case – we’ll cover the costs and won’t get paid until we win. If we lose, we take no money from anyone, and you walk away with no debt to our firm.