It is illegal for a supervisor or co-worker to subject another person to unwelcome sexual advances at work. It is also illegal for a supervisor or co-worker to subject another person to hostile work environment based on sex.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is commonly thought of as unwelcome sexual advances. However, it includes much more. Sexual harassment does not need to be based on sexual desire. It can be based on same sex also.
Examples of sexual harassment and harassment inflicted on the GLBT community as well as claims related to:
- Sexual assault/unwelcome physical touching of a sexual nature
- Proposing employment advances or hiring for sexual acts ("quid pro quo")
- Visual harassment by displaying sexually explicit objects, cartoons or pictures
- Pattern of verbal abuse by sexually offensive comments and degrading words
- Making sexual advances or propositions, physically or verbally
- Making gender-related comments about a person's appearance or mannerisms
- Bullying someone using gender-related comments or conduct
- Treating a person badly because they do not conform to gender roles
AMG specializes in the handling of sensitive sexual harassment cases. We have obtained numerous seven-figure settlements for victims of sexual harassment. For example, recovering on behalf of a secretary who was forced into a sexual relationship with her supervisor, a nanny whose breasts and buttocks were repeatedly groped by her employer as well as a man who was consistently ridiculed at work by a supervisor for not conforming to masculine gender stereotypes.
What Should I Do if I'm Being Sexually Harassed?
In many cases, informal action can achieve the fastest resolution of the issue. You can start by telling the person harassing you as clearly as possible to stop the behavior. If this does not work, put your complaint in writing, telling the person that you find the behavior offensive and what action you will take (e.g., file a complaint) if it continues. If this does not work, check your employer's policy to see with whom you should file a formal complaint. Oftentimes, you can file a formal complaint with your supervisor (unless he or she is the person harassing you) or a human resources representative.
In cases of sexual harassment, for the sake of any potential lawsuit you may file, it is of the utmost importance to keep detailed records of each offensive incident. Make note of the time, date and underlying facts of each incident (including actions you or your company took), as well as copies of all related correspondence or complaints.
What Happens if My Company Does Nothing to Help Me?
California and many other states' laws require an employer to provide an environment free from harassment. In addition, once employers are notified about the harassment, they must correct it. Many states, including California, provide for a separate legal claim when the employer who is notified of the harassment fails to take appropriate action to stop it.
If your company does not resolve the issue, your next step is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the corresponding local state agency. If, after investigation of your complaint, either of these agencies finds evidence of sexual harassment and attempts to resolve the dispute have failed, the agency will issue you a right-to-sue letter. Once this has been done, you have the right to file a private lawsuit against your employer to seek compensation.
For additional information and answers to your questions, please visit our FAQ page.
Protecting Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, Allred, Maroko & Goldberg can help empower you to get justice whether privately or publicly. We have an unparalleled record of success in securing confidential prelitigation settlements of sexual harassment matters, as well as helping victims face their aggressors in the courtroom. Please contact our Los Angeles offices at 323-302-4774 or our New York offices at 212-202-2966 to schedule a consultation and case evaluation.