Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Standing Up for Your Rights
In most states, including California, it’s unlawful to sexually harass an employee, but countless Americans across the country still experience harassment in the form of inappropriate touching, offensive jokes, and more. In fact, a recent study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) revealed that one in four women and one in five men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
Wondering if legal action is an available option for you? The Barkhordarian Law Firm’s own sexual harassment lawyers in Los Angeles are available to meet with you to learn more about your situation and whether you can seek compensation in a claim. Our team has been committed to protecting employees throughout the Greater Los Angeles area who have been taken advantage of or mistreated by their employers.
Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is prohibited by both federal and state laws. At the federal level, sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) considers sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination at the state level.
Sexual harassment can include a wide range of behaviors and actions, from derogatory comments and slurs to retaliation after you’ve complained about instances of harassment.
You may have experienced sexual harassment if any of the following happened to you in the workplace:
- Unwanted touching, such as pats on the butt, pinching, or back rubs
- Discussion of sexual acts
- Rude gestures
- Presence of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or posters
- Graphic comments or invitations
- Unwanted sexual propositions
- Threats to reduce your hours or benefits if you don’t comply with sexual requests
Generally, there are two main forms of recognized workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that literally translates to “this for that,” or “something for something,” implying a type of exchange. This means that quid pro quo harassment occurs when someone offers something in exchange for sexual favors, though it can also be presented as a threat to make the victim feel like they have no other choice but to accept.
Things commonly exchanged for sexual conduct or advances include your hiring, promotions, benefits, and continued employment. This type of sexual harassment is considered severe, meaning that a single incident may be enough to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment occurs when sexual harassment is pervasive or severe enough to interfere with your work or create an offensive or intimidating atmosphere. Individuals who wish to file hostile work environment claims often have to prove that they suffered some sort of emotional distress in order to succeed, as well as prove that the actions were frequent. You don’t have to be a direct target of the sexual harassment in order to file a lawsuit for a hostile work environment.
Who is Liable for Sexual Harassment?
If the sexual harassment occurred at the hands of a supervisor, the employer is held strictly liable in a lawsuit. This means that your employer is responsible for your damages if they knew or should have known about the harassment, or if they failed to take the actions needed to stop it.
However, it’s important to know that under California law, employees can’t immediately file lawsuits as a first course of action—an administrative complaint must first be filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to get a right-to-sue notice. Only after may you file a lawsuit in court.
You Are Protected Against Employer Retaliation
Many victims of sexual harassment hesitate to come forward due to fears of employer retaliation, such as being fired, demoted, reassigned, denied a promotion or raise, or having their working hours cut. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment and are experiencing these fears, it is important to know that this type of employer retaliation is illegal and that you are protected under the law against mistreatment.
If your employer has taken any sort of negative action against you after reporting concerns of sexual harassment, call us. Our attorneys are prepared to stand by your side and fight to protect your rights.
Damages We Can Recover
Victims of sexual harassment have a right to recover damages in California that compensate them for their financial and emotional losses. Some examples of remedies we’ve acquired for clients include damages for emotional distress, hiring or reinstatement, and changes in employer policies or practices.
In some rare cases, victims can recover punitive damages if it can be proven that the employer committed an especially malicious act of discrimination or oppression. Employers with 15 to 100 employees can face up to $50,000 in damages, while those with 500 or more employees can face damages up to $300,000. If you believe you’re a victim of sexual harassment, we can help you understand your rights.
If you’re being harassed in the workplace, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at (888) 514-5112. Since 2012, we’ve helped countless employees who’ve been mistreated by their employers and coworkers.
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