Marin County Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Marin County Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Marin County Sexual Harassment Lawyers

California Sexual Harassment Attorney Assisting Employees and Employers in Marin County

Under both federal and California state law, it is unlawful to harass a job applicant or an employee on the basis of that individual’s sex. California law extends additional protections to employees beyond what federal law provides, and specifically states that sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.  Supervisors can be personally responsible if they engage in workplace harassment.  In addition, California law prohibits harassment against independent contractors.  A Marin County sexual harassment lawyer can discuss these laws with you in detail.

Getting the Facts About Sexual Harassment in Marin County

What should employees and employers alike know about sexual harassment in the workplace? The following facts come from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH):

  • Anyone of any sex or gender can be the target of sexual harassment in the workplace;
  • Harasser can be of the same or different sex/gender as the target of the harassment;
  • Unlawful sexual harassment does not have to involve any element of sexual desire, but unlawful sexual harassment can include sexual advances;
  • Unlawful sexual harassment can be perpetrated by a supervisor, a co-worker, another employee in the company/workplace, or someone who is not an employee at all (including clients and customers);
  • Unlawful sexual harassment can include making offensive comments about women in general (abusive comments do not have to be targeted at a specific individual);
  • Unlawful sexual harassment includes “quid pro pro” harassment, or requests for sexual favors in exchange for a job or workplace benefit;
  • When unwelcome comments or conduct on the basis of sex create a hostile work environment, this can also be a form of sexual harassment; and
  • An employee can experience sexual harassment in the workplace and may be able to file a claim even when she is not the target of the harassment (in other words, sexual harassment that targets other individual(s) in the workplace can constitute sexual harassment if it creates a hostile work environment for another person.

Filing a Marin County Sexual Harassment Claim

Generally speaking, most sexual harassment claims in Marin County will be filed either under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (federal law) or the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which is a California state law.

If you file under federal law, you will need to file your claim with the EEOC. If you file under state law, you will need to file your claim with the DFEH. The decision about where to file a claim should be based on a number of different factors that are specific to your case. For example, if the sexual harassment includes offensive conduct on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, California law’s broader protections may require you to file your claim with the DFEH. A Marin County sexual harassment lawyer can speak with you about your options.

Employer Responsibilities in Marin County Sexual Harassment Cases

Employers in Marin County may have an affirmative duty to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. In the event an employer knows about harassment and fails to take reasonable steps to correct and/or to prevent future sexual harassment, it can be held liable. Employers can also be strictly liable for harassment by its supervisors.  Required ways to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and to handle complaints include but are not limited to:

  • Distributing information to employees about sexual harassment law;
  • Posting a copy of “California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment”;
  • Developing a prevention policy for sexual harassment;
  • Requiring mandatory reporting;
  • Clarifying employer’s procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints;
  • Emphasizing that employees will not face retaliation for making a sexual harassment complaint or participating in an investigation; and
  • Requiring employees to acknowledge the employer’s sexual harassment policy.

By contrast, if an employer creates or permits a workplace environment where harassment is tolerated, then if it is aware of harassment but fails to take any steps to address the situation, then it may be liable for damages resulting from the hostile work environment.

Contact a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Marin County

If you need assistance with a sexual harassment complaint, a Marin County sexual harassment attorney can assist with your case. Contact Minnis & Smallets LLP today.


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