There are many different types of interactions that occur every day in the workplace. Ideally, a workplace should be stress-free, friendly, and positive for all. However, this is not always the case for everyone. Often there are situations in which sexual harassment and discrimination occur. When these types of interactions do happen, it is uncomfortable for everyone and can lead to serious issues for the victim. Also, the entire workplace suffers because of interactions.
Today, sexual harassment and discrimination have become major topics in society, especially when it comes to a workplace environment. Yet, they still occur to most people. At Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney, we can aid clients with sexual harassment or discrimination complaints. If you are currently facing issues involving sexual harassment, contact Sexual Harassment Attorney for help. Our attorneys aim to provide our clients in and around the Sacramento area with the best legal assistance available.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Most people tend to know what sexual harassment is; however, it is essential to know the legal definition. This may include actions that may not initially seem like sexual harassment. In California, forms of sexual harassment may include verbal abuse, unwanted touching, unwanted sexual advances, unwanted sexual remarks, displaying graphic sexual images, or any kind of harassment on the basis the person’s gender. The harassing actions or words do not have to be sexually motivated in order to be considered sexual harassment. It is also important to know that there are situations in which an employer may be liable for sexual harassment or discrimination cases.
To be considered sexual harassment, the actions need to have been unwanted by the victim. This means that the interaction was not consensual. Even if the victim was intimidated into consenting, it’s still considered harassment. Next, the nature of the interaction needs to have been offensive. This meaning that it was objectively offensive to any reasonable person in the situation. Lastly, the interaction needs to have been severe or carried out through a continuous stretch of time.
Sexual harassment lawsuits may be considered under laws such as the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the California State Constitution, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
At Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney, our team is well prepared and highly experienced in cases involving sexual harassment.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can occur in many forms including quid pro quo situations and a hostile workplace.
Quid pro quo, or “this in exchange for that,” describes situations in which favor is given with the expectation of a favor in return. In the case of workplace sexual harassment, this may include scenarios in which an employer expects a sexual favor in exchange for a benefit of some kind to an employee. This may include situations in which a sexual favor is asked for being hired, a promotion, and not being fired.
On the other hand, a hostile workplace may harbor environments filled with sexual harassment. This can be that an employer or supervisor knowingly allows its employees to sexually harass other employees without proper disciplinary action. These actions may be made verbally and/or physically. In these situations, this form of hostility must be intimidating and ongoing so as to make employees leave a workplace.
Other situations that may be similar to sexual harassment include discrimination, especially on the basis of sex. It is illegal to discriminate against another individual based on their:
- Sexual Orientation,
- Age, or
- Any other non-performance related factor
There are several types of situations in which discrimination may lead to unfair and hostile interactions. If an individual has been fired, not hired, not promoted, demoted, denied benefits, or discriminated against on the basis of their gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or in any other way, it is considered to be discrimination. It is important to know that discrimination may be either positive or negative. An employer may treat people better or worse based on their appearance, and it is still considered discrimination. This may also include cases in which a specific group of people received benefits while the rest did not. All of these are illegal and can lead to a lawsuit.
Our lawyers at Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney our well experienced and practiced in handling cases involving discrimination. We can help protect your rights as an employee in California.
Discrimination Against Women and Families
Within workplaces, women are often susceptible to sexual harassment and discrimination. Such actions may also lead to sex discrimination. These are considered illegal actions and can lead to harsh punishments.
It is also an illegal practice to reduce or enhance payment to an employee based upon their gender (or any other non-performance determining factor). If a woman is paid less than a male counterpart with the same experience and same duties, this can be considered sex discrimination. This also violates the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in California, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee who is pregnant. This can also fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act since pregnancy is considered a temporary disability. Under these acts, a woman’s right to have children without the fear of losing their job is protected. Also, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to the pregnant employee during their pregnancy and after giving birth. It is also illegal to reduce salary, demote, or discontinue benefits for a pregnant woman.
If you are facing any of these issues in your workplace, call Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney for help.
Wrongful Termination / Constructive Discharge
A more specific form of discrimination that may occur within the workplace is wrongful termination. This means that an employee was fired for illegal reasons—and not simply for “no reason” at all. In order to file a suit, the employer must have terminated you in a way that violates federal or California state laws. Once again, it is illegal to terminate an employee based upon their:
- Sexual Orientation,
- Age, or
- Any other non-performance related factor
On the other hand, constructive discharge may also be considered a form of wrongful termination. Constructive discharge differs in that there is no direct termination on the part of the employer. Instead, the employer targets an employee and forces them to quit by creating a hostile work environment. This means that an employer allows that employee to work in unsafe conditions and/or allowed other employees to harass the victim until he or she quit on their own. This could be understood as forcing the employee to quit out of discomfort and/or fear of their safety. Under the law, this is seen as the same as being unlawfully terminated.
However, there are a couple of elements that must be a part of your case in order to be considered constructive discharge. This includes: you must have informed your employee about the intolerable and unsafe conditions, the working conditions are reasonably intolerable, and you allowed sufficient time for an employer to take action to correct any issues. Also, being fired after refusing to take part in an illegal scheme can also be seen as constructive discharge.
All of the above situations described can be a basis for a lawsuit. If you feel you need help with your case involving wrongful termination or constructive discharge, contact Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney today.
Employer retaliation may occur if an employee files sexual harassment, discrimination, or another type of lawsuit against their employer. This means that the employer fired, reduced salary, demoted, or penalized the employee that filed the suit. In this sense, this can be a form of wrongful termination in California. Also, an employer may retaliate against an employee who contacted the media or law enforcement about illegal activities in the workplace—otherwise known as “whistle-blowing.”
It is unlawful for an employer to take revenge against an employee should they file a suit or bring attention to the possible illegal activity. Another suit may be filed against the employer if such incidents do occur. A retaliation lawsuit may be added alongside another lawsuit despite its outcome.
Harassment and Humor
Sometimes jokes can be cruel, especially if they are based on racial or sexual prejudices. Most of the time, insensitive jokes can be a one-off thing and are not considered for a lawsuit. However, there are instances in which they may lead to a lawsuit.
A lawsuit can be filed in cases in which the jokes are discriminatory or sexually graphic in nature, and are made continuously over a stretch of time despite being told that someone does not want to hear them. These jokes can be considered under sexual harassment or discrimination laws if they are very serious. Also, if you have informed your employer about your feelings of the jokes and he or she does nothing to stop them, this can be considered a hostile work environment.
Responsibilities of the Employer
In any type of workplace environment, the employer has a great responsibility to take care of his or her employees. An employer may become liable to any of the above violations if they fail to follow the law in regards to preventing sexual harassment.
For employers with fifty (50) or more employees, they must provide sexual harassment training within six (6) months of hire. They must continue to provide the training every two (2) years for all of their employees.
Besides this, all employers must have written guidelines and policies dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination. These must be written out in some form, like an employee handbook, so that all employees have access to the proper information. Also, employers must distribute the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s brochure with information regarding sexual harassment and discrimination policies and laws.
Lastly, if an employer is aware of any harassment or discrimination, they must acknowledge and set out to resolve any issues—or else they are liable. An employer may be liable in cases in which the employees are not given the proper training or information regarding harassment and discrimination. It is important for the employer to be proactive about preventing and dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. If they are not, they can face severe punishment in California.
What to Do If You Have a Sexual Harassment Complaint?
If you have a sexual harassment complaint or any other complaint as described in the above sections, you should always start by informing your employer or manager—it is their duty to resolve any issues. However, if they fail to do anything, you should quickly contact your local sexual harassment lawyer for help. A proper attorney can help review your case and determine what legal steps you should take next.
Any type of sexual harassment or discrimination complaint has to be filed with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing within a year from the date of the incident. From this point, the department will investigate the complaint about up to sixty (60) days. From the investigation, it will be determined if the employer violated any laws and if mediation may be required to resolve the issue. If nothing works at this point, then a suit may be filed in court.
Finding a Sexual Harassment Attorney Near Me
Sexual harassment, discrimination, and any other form of discrimination is illegal in the state of California. In these cases, the victim may suffer in multiple ways at the hands of other people. If such acts occur in the workplace, the victim may suffer even more due to lost wages and the uncertainty of unemployment.
However, Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney is here to assist you with any complaint that you may have. Our lawyers are highly experienced and some of the best around. We are here to stand by you and to make sure that your rights are protected. If you are seeking help or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices at 800-905-1856. We can consult with you about your harassment or discrimination case and be with you every step of the way to help.