Manhattan Beach Sexual Harassment

Employment Lawyers Representing Residents of Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is ranked as one of the country's most expensive zip codes. Out of a population of about 36,000 residents, almost exactly half (or 49.9%) identify as female. Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace often feel humiliated and degraded. It is important for employers to have clear policies in place to address the possibility of sexual harassment by coworkers, supervisors, and customers. Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the Calderone Law Firm, our Manhattan Beach sexual harassment lawyers may be able to help you recover damages for misconduct in the workplace that has affected you.

Pursuing a Sexual Harassment Claim

The Fair Employment and Housing Act is the California law that explicitly forbids sexual harassment. Title VII is the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination. Under federal law, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. In general, FEHA has a wider scope of protection for employees victimized by sexual harassment.

There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. The former occurs when a person in a position of authority at the company tries to trade sexual favors for continued employment, job possibilities, or advancement. For example, if your manager tells you that you will be promoted if you give him a blowjob, this would be quid pro quo harassment. An offer of advancement or threat of being terminated can be implied. Since coworkers do not have any authority over you, they cannot perpetrate quid pro quo harassment. A sexual harassment attorney in Manhattan Beach can determine which type of harassment you likely endured.

Hostile work environment harassment happens if your work environment is made offensive, oppressive, intimidating, or hostile because of severe or pervasive sexual harassment. In most cases, a single instance or one-off episode is insufficient to create a hostile work environment. More often, a hostile work environment is created by a pattern or repetition of harassing behavior. When examining the extent of the harassment, courts will look at the degree of intimidation or offensiveness of the act, how often it happened, and the context of the harassment. Generally, actions such as groping or physical touching are considered more offensive than unwanted verbal or written remarks. Not all jokes or innuendoes will be considered sexual harassment.

You should confront a person whom you believe is harassing you and let them know that their conduct is unwelcome. In some cases, a direct confrontation does stop the sexual harassment. If not, you should follow the procedures that are outlined in your employment handbook for notifying your employer. When there is no employment handbook or specified grievance mechanism, it is wise to provide written notification of what happened to HR.

The strategy that a Manhattan Beach sexual harassment attorney uses and the strategy that an employer uses to defend against a sexual harassment claim depend partly on the law under which you bring the claim. Under CACI 2526, employers confronted with claims of sexual harassment by supervisors can raise the affirmative defense of avoidable consequences. Under this defense, an employer can try to prove that it took appropriate steps to stop the harassment, but you unreasonably failed to take advantage of the protection offered. The rationale is that an employer should not be liable for any harm that you could avoid by using the employer's grievance mechanisms. However, this defense only limits the damages, rather than permitting an employer to avoid all liability.

In contrast, under Title VII, when confronted with harassment involving a hostile work environment, your employer can defend itself by showing that it used reasonable care to stop and promptly correct the harassing behavior, but the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities given by the employer to avoid harm. If it can meet these requirements, the employer can avoid liability altogether, rather than simply limiting your damages. This is one reason why it is crucial to consult an attorney and important to give your employer a chance to rectify the situation.

Consult an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Manhattan Beach

If you need to pursue remedies for sexual harassment or another form of discrimination in Manhattan Beach, the experienced attorneys at the Calderone Law Firm may be able to provide counsel and representation. You can call us at (424) 348-8290 or contact us through our online form.