Help for Victims of Sexual Harassment at Work
When you go to work on a daily basis you always expect that you’re going to be treated fairly and with the utmost degree of professionalism and respect. However, when an employer or coworker violates your civil rights by harassing you sexually, this in effect can make you feel uncomfortable. This in essence makes your workplace is no longer a place of professionalism. Instead, it is a place of hostility that can be too overwhelming for you to concentrate on your work which can hinder your productivity and to financially meet you quota.
When you become a victim of sexual harassment, you may have conflicting emotions. You may feel anger, disgust and a lack of confidence. At the same side of the token, you also may be anxious about the possibility of losing your job, getting a poor performance review or being demoted from your position.
This is especially true if the owner or manager of the company where you work is the person harassing you. But the encouraging news is this: it is possible to take effective legal action with a experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney in Los Angeles.
What Are the Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal law. Despite the fact of laws, sexual harassment stills remains a prevalent problem for employees in the workplace.
These are the two (2) main types of unlawful sexual harassment:
QUID PRO QUO SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Translated from Latin, quid pro quo means “something for something.” Thus, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee (generally, a manager or supervisor) offers or hints to a trade for something in return for sexual favors. Quid pro quo harassment can be either the threat of an adverse employment action (“sleep with me or you’re fired”) or the promise of an employment benefit (“sleep with me and you’ll get a raise”). This is unlawful regardless of whether the person harassed refuses or submits to the unwelcome advances. Quid pro quo is expressed or implied. Subtle hints or innuendo can be harassment as long as a reasonable person would interpret the conduct to be a threat or demand.
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employer subjects an employee to unwelcome sexual conduct that is severe enough to interfere with an employee’s work performance or create an intimidating work environment. Whether the sexual conduct is pervasive depends on the circumstances, including the nature of the conduct, its frequency, and the context in which it occurs.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment need only be severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. As a matter of fact, the California Legislature recently made clear that one single incident may be sufficient to create a hostile work environment if it “unreasonably interfered” with the employee’s work environment or if it “created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.” It also clarified that employees do not need to show that their productivity declined as a result of the harassment but rather only need to show that the harassment made it “more difficult to do the job.”
The status of the harasser may also make the harassing conduct more severe. Harassment by a high-level executive, manager, or owner is more serious. Moreover, employees do not have to be the direct target of sexual harassment to experience a hostile work environment. For example, women who witness a manager frequently harassing other female employees may have a hostile work environment claim. If a boss or manager shows favoritism toward an employee they are sexually involved with, it may create a hostile work environment for other co-workers.
What is the Statistics of Sexual Harassment in California?
1. Forty-five percent of the EEOC’s harassment claims were sex-based. In FY2015, the EEOC received over 28,000 harassment claims for both private and public employers (e.g. government). A majority of this 45 percent were sex-based claims. Other types of harassment claims included harassment on the basis of race, disability, age, national origin and religion. While sex-based claims include sexual harassment, gender identity and sexual orientation, a majority of the sex-based harassment claims were due to sexual harassment. Even though many harassment claims go unreported (see below), those that are reported are overwhelmingly due to sexual harassment. If someone is asking for a sexual favor, making any kind of sexual advance or doing anything in a sexual nature at work, it would be considered harassment.
2. At least 25 percent of people experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Let that sink in. At least one in four people experience sexual harassment in the workplace. And the EEOC’s study found that, in some reports, that number is as high as 85 percent. The difference in the range of percentages comes from differences in types of sampling and how respondents and/or researchers define the term sexual harassment. Whether it is 25 percent or 85 percent of women or man who experience sexual harassment in the workplace, however, it is still a disturbingly high percentage that we can’t ignore.
3. Seventy-five percent of harassment victims experienced retaliation when they reported it. When reports come out that a person or people have experienced sexual harassment, the most common responses include “Why didn’t she say anything?” or ”Why didn’t she report it?”. Victim advocates, and anyone who has experienced workplace harassment, know that the most common reason is because they worry that not only will they not be believed, but also that they’ll be fired.
That’s exactly what one study in 2003 found: “75 percent of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.” Other studies show that organizations respond to sexual harassment reports specifically by inaction or minimizing.
4. Somewhere between 87 and 94 percent of employees experiencing harassment do not file a formal complaint. Considering that 75 percent of employees who report harassment experience retaliation, it’s not surprising that many choose not to take any type of formal action against a harasser. Evidently, however, this can depend on sexual harassment complaint. Some types of harassing behavior are reported more than others. One study found that sexually coercive behavior is reported about 30 percent of the time, while unwanted physical touching is only report eight percent of the time.
Taking a Stand against Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of illegal harassment in the workplace. In the simplest definition, sexual harassment is the unwelcome sexual conduct on the part of an employer, coworker, or client.
Sexual harassment can include many forms of offensive or unwelcome sexual behavior, including the following:
Unwelcome sexual comments or jokes – either in person or in electronic communication like texts or emails
Unwanted sexual advances Sexual leering
Sexually suggestive touching, groping, or contact against the employee’s wishes
Invasion of an employee’s personal space or impeding her movements
Staring at employees or their bodies in a sexual manner
Actual or threatened retaliation
Unwanted sexual advances Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors
Sexually derogation or degrading words
Sexual comments about one's body
Suggestive, offensive, or obscene letters, notes, or invitations
Physical touching or assault
Making derogatory comments, slurs, or jokes
Displaying sexually suggestive posters, images, or pictures
Repeated requests for dates or sexual favors
Posting, circulating or showing sexually explicit images or material in the workplace
E-mailing or viewing pornographic images on the job
Who is Liable for Sexual Harassment?
Under California law, an employer is strictly liable when a manager or supervisor engages in sexual harassment. This means that if a manager or supervisor sexually harasses a subordinate, the employer is liable. The employer is only liable for harassment between co-workers if it knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take appropriate action. In both cases, the employees who engage in the harassment are personally liable for their conduct. Employers are also liable for harassment by their customers or clients if they know or should have known about the harassment and failed to act.
You Don’t Pay Until You Win.
Contact a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer to schedule a free, no obligation initial case evaluation at 1-424-256-9055. Our Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles will help protect your rights. And remember, You Don’t Pay until You Win, or You Don’t Pay At All!
Lawyer Referral Service Los Angeles
If you are in a need a Beverly Hills Sexual Harassment Lawyer to help you get appropriate compensation and medical care you deserve, you should contact a Sexual Harassment lawyer in Los Angeles today. Our experienced Sexual Harassment lawyers in Los Angeles will help you overcome your Sexual Harassment damages.
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