Sexual harassment is a serious offense in the state of California. Today, the topic has become a prominent issue, especially when discussing workplace culture. Every worker wants, and deserves, a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination since this can lead to lower stress levels and getting more work done. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case in most workplaces. Sometimes employees face sexual harassment or discrimination on a daily basis, or in slight ways. Yet, these can all lead to uncomfortable and unwelcoming environments for anyone.
At Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney, our team of lawyers are experienced in sexual harassment cases as well as discrimination cases. Our goal is to provide assistance to anyone who needs it. We can help you with your problems. Also, we will help during the whole process and make sure that your rights as a worker are properly protected. We want to hear from you. Contact us so we can review your case and get started as soon as possible.
What Does Sexual Harassment Mean?
Despite sexual harassment being a common topic of discussion today, it is important to understand what it means and contains under California’s laws. Sexual harassment is specifically defined so as to determine what it is and what it is not. In the state of California, sexual harassment is verbal abuse, unsolicited touching, unsolicited sexual advances, unsolicited sexual comments, displaying sexually graphic imagery, or any type of harassment based upon the victim’s gender. There does not need to be any sort of sexual motivation or source of gratification behind these actions to be considered sexual harassment under California law.
In California, sexual harassment can be found to be in violation of certain laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), California’s State Constitution, and, also, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959.
To further define sexual harassment exactly, it is crucial to understand the key elements described in the law. These include non-consensual, offensive, and severity.
As described above, any touching, sexual comment or sexual advance must have been unsolicited, or non-consensual. This meaning the victim in these incidents must have asked the perpetrator to stop or that he or she never gave permission in the first place. Even in cases in which the victim consented under intimidation, it is still classified as sexual harassment. Secondly, the acts above must be offensive in nature. This means that any reasonable individual in the incident would have found the actions or words to be offensive. Lastly, sexual harassment cases usually occur when such actions are severe, or if they are less severe but carry on over a long period of time. All of these elements must be shown in order to file a sexual harassment complaint in California.
There are two forms of sexual harassment that may lead to legal consequences. This includes both quid pro quo and hostile work environment. The former indicates that an employer, or anyone else, offers a benefit or favor for the purposes of receiving sexual gratification. For example, a boss says he will not fire an employee if he can touch her in a sexual manner. The latter form of sexual harassment indicates that a supervisor or employer allows an atmosphere of sexual harassment to flourish with his knowledge. This also means that the employer does nothing to stop the harassing behavior.
If so, Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney can help you in the process of determining what to do after a sexual harassment incident.
Discrimination is another major issue that commonly plagues workplaces. In California, state laws prohibit any form of discrimination in workplaces, and the Fair Employment and Housing Act protect any and all employees from any form of bias. It is unlawful to discriminate an employee based upon their:
- Race or color,
- Religion or creed,
- Sex or gender,
- Gender identity,
- Sexual orientation,
- Medical condition, or
- Military or veteran status.
Sometimes sexual harassment may actually be discrimination based upon the victim’s gender.
Discrimination can lead to unfair situations in the workplace. This can include instances in which someone is terminated, not hired, demoted, paid less, denied his/her benefits, or not promoted based upon their appearance, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, or any other factor that does not affect their performance. Also, discrimination can include scenarios in which an employer favors a specific type of people over others. For example, an employer favors the male workers so he pays them more and promotes them more often.
If any of these situations apply to you, or if you feel that you are discriminated against in your workplace, do not hesitate to contact Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney.
Women and Discrimination
Unfortunately, women are largely (though not always) the target of sexual harassment at work. However, this is still illegal.
Discriminating against women may often occur in the form of paying them less than a male co-worker for the same duties, not hiring them, not promoting them, or any other form of workplace discrimination on the basis of gender. This form of discrimination is clearly outlined in California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Also, if a woman becomes pregnant, it is still a crime to discriminate, as indicated under California’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act. A woman should not have to worry about the status of her employment if she decides to start a family. An employer cannot deny a pregnant woman of benefits, reduce her pay, demote, or terminate her due to a pregnancy. Also, all employers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women in the workplace.
If you are facing these type of issues, Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney can help to make sure your rights are protected.
As an employer, you have specific responsibilities. This includes taking the proper care of your employees. Any violation of state or federal laws regarding an employee’s rights may lead to legal consequences.
Usually, most employers must provide sexual harassment education and training to employees within the sixty days of their hire. Also, every two years, they must provide more training for all of their employees. Also, all guidelines and policies regarding sexual harassment and discrimination must be written out in some form that is accessible to all employees (usually, this is the handbook). Along with this, employers must give his or her employees a copy of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s information, and any and all information about state laws and policies.
Another major responsibility all employers have is making sure that they follow the correct procedure when dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination. If an employer fails to follow proper protocol in any case, they may be liable for any of the employee’s complaints. A failure to do this may lead to serious penalties and punishments for employers in California.
Discrimination may also lead to wrongful termination which means that an employer unlawfully terminated an employee. However, this does not mean an employee was terminated for simply “no reason” or that the employee believed they were falsely fired. In California, wrongful termination is a termination that violates state policies about discrimination. If an employee was fired due to their race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or another factor as described above, then the employer is in violation of state laws and may be sued for wrongful termination in California.
Constructive discharge is similar to wrongful termination; however, it does not involve a direct termination as ordered by an employer. Constructive discharge indicates that an employee has quit a job due to workplace hostility, harassment, and/or intolerable conditions. Also, in order for a case to be considered constructive discharge, an employer must have known about the uncomfortable work environment and conditions and did nothing to resolve the issues. In a sense, this can be seen as pressuring an employee to leave their job by ignoring their complaints.
In order to be legally considered constructive discharge, a few of key elements should be present in your case. First, when any issues arise, you need to have let your employer or supervisor know of the uncomfortable conditions. Secondly, the conditions need to be unsafe or uncomfortable for any reasonable person that occupied the same position. Lastly, you need to have allowed a sufficient amount of time for your employer or supervisor to resolve any issues. If they fail to do so, they could potentially face legal consequences.
Constructive discharge is another workplace complaint that our lawyers are experienced enough to handle at Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney.
Wrongful termination and constructive discharge may stem from employer retaliation. Usually, cases of employer retaliation arise when an employee charges them with discrimination, harassment, or any other type of workplace illegal practices. An employer may retaliate, or take revenge, against said employee by firing them, demoting them, paying them less, or by punishing them through other means. Also, common instances of employer retaliation occur when an employee reports illegal activity in a workplace to law enforcement or the press. This is commonly referred to as “whistleblowing.”
In California, it is always illegal for an employer to retaliate against their employees in any way and for any reason. Usually, this may be brought up as another lawsuit alongside any other that an employee has filed.
There are many times in which a joke told within a workplace can be hurtful and offensive to some people. Sometimes, a fellow employee may take it as a targeted attack in the form of discrimination or sexual harassment. However, claims that involve jokes are often unfounded in the court of law.
Yet, if insensitive jokes indicate a clear behavior of discrimination towards a co-worker, or employee, and they are continuously made, legal action can be taken. If the jokes told are extremely offensive, or obscenely sexual and they continue even though you let the person know how you feel, it may be seen as a form sexual harassment or, even, discrimination. In other words, if you feel that another worker’s jokes are becoming hostile or present some sort of prejudice towards you, you may take legal action. Furthermore, if you notify your employer or supervisor about the insensitive jokes, but they ignore your issues, then they may be legally responsible for allowing a hostile working environment to continue.
Steps to Take After a Sexual Harassment Incident
If sexual harassment or any sort of discrimination occurs to you, you may be unsure of what to do next. Logically, the first step is always to report any and all issues to your supervisor or employer. It’s their job to help their employees. If they refuse or fail to help you in any way, you should contact a sexual harassment attorney, like one of ours at Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney, for legal assistance.
In California, all sexual harassment and discrimination incidents must be taken up with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Once the incident has been filed, an investigation will be started to determine whether or not the complaints are valid and may proceed any further. If so, a mediation meeting will be set between you and your employer to work out the issues. If this fails to bring about any resolution, your complaint may be taken up in a legal case.
Locating a Qualified Sexual Harassment Attorney Near Me
A workplace should be professional and comfortable to all that work in it. Unfortunately, it is common for employees to face harassment or discrimination in a place of business. In these situations, an employee may suffer emotionally and financially. You should not have to endure such things in your workplace.
If you are dealing with any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, constructive discharge, or employer retaliation, we want to hear from you. At Oakland Sexual Harassment Lawyer, our team of lawyers are experienced in cases dealing with these issues. We are ready to be with you every step of the way. Contact us at 800-905-1856 so we can review your case and get started as soon as possible.