Sexual harassment can cause a California employee considerable anxiety and loss of productivity at work. If a coworker, supervisor, or employer has mistreated you, you may be concerned about being ostracized on the job or having to deal with retaliation. Worse yet, some employers fail to investigate complaints or fail to protect their harassed employees. The employment discrimination lawyers at the Calderone Law Firm assist victims of harassment in Manhattan Beach and elsewhere in the region in seeking compensation for the harm that they have suffered. This may include lost earnings, reputational harm, and sometimes punitive damages.Laws Prohibiting Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is prohibited under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state law. California employers are obligated to take reasonable steps to prevent this wrongful conduct. They should develop policies that establish that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, provide an internal complaint process to allow employees to notify the employer about harassment, and assure the employees that they are protected against retaliation. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer effective interactive training and education to all supervisors.
California's Fair Employment and Housing Act defines harassment based on sex as unwanted sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature, whether it is visual, verbal, or physical. Common situations that give rise to sexual harassment lawsuits include unwanted contact, assaults, graphic remarks, obscene letters, sexual gestures, threatening reprisal after a negative response to sexual advances, and offering a raise or promotion in exchange for a sexual favor.
Quid pro quo harassment is when a supervisor propositions an employee for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment of some kind. The favorable treatment may include a wide variety of positive changes to employment, including promotions, salary raises, or a sought-after shift assignment. Often, however, quid pro quo harassment involves a threat of an adverse employment change based on the rejection of sexual advances. Adverse changes to employment can include termination, demotion, or a salary reduction.
Some employees may not be aware that sexual harassment can be actionable outside a supervisor's attempt to trade employment advancement for sexual favors. Harassment may also involve conduct that is either so severe or so pervasive that it causes a hostile work environment. Often, it involves a course of conduct, such as a series of small actions that together intimidate or cause distress to the victim. For example, a coworker or supervisor may make repeated sexual jokes. Or, when a coworker's relationship ends, one of the people may have trouble letting go and send a barrage of emails or gifts after being asked to stop.
A victim subject to sexual harassment is entitled to any and all damages that the unlawful conduct was a substantial factor in causing. This may include lost earnings, future lost earnings, emotional distress, attorney fees and costs, and punitive damages in especially egregious cases.Legal Guidance for an Employment Dispute in Los Angeles
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting behavior that violates Title VII or any of the state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. Our sexual harassment attorneys can devise a strategy tailored to your situation. We represent workers in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, including Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. Contact the Calderone Law Firm at (424) 348-8290 or via our online form to arrange a free consultation.