Both state and federal laws protect your right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace. It is important for victims to get independent legal advice from an attorney who is on their side. Remember, your employer is protecting its own legal interests. Human resources employees are paid to protect the employer – not the employee. At Minnis and Smallets, our Oakland sexual harassment attorneys know how to hold employers accountable for allowing illegal conduct to occur in the workplace.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) identifies two different types of sexual harassment. The first is “quid pro quo,” in which an employee is asked to perform sexual favors in exchange for preferential treatment at work. The “preferential treatment” can be as simple as keeping your job. Because this changes the terms and conditions of the victim’s employment based upon their gender, it is a violation of the Equal Rights Act of 1964.
The second type of employment is a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is created when anyone in the workplace engages in speech or conduct that is so severe and pervasive that it affects the victim’s ability to work. Again, this changes the terms and conditions of employment based upon the victim’s gender and is, therefore, a violation of the Equal Rights Act. Many harassers try to discount a hostile work environment. They might say that the victim misunderstood them or “couldn’t take a joke.” If the case goes to trial, it will be up to a jury to decide whether the conduct was severe and pervasive. The longer the conduct persists and the more severe it is, the more difficult it will be for a harasser to discount the effect it had on the victim.
All too often, sexual harassment cases become a situation of “he said, she said.” This discourages many victims from coming forward. But our experienced sexual harassment attorneys know how to prove that illegal conduct occurred in the workplace. Often, this can be done with circumstantial evidence. If other victims have complained about the harasser’s conduct in the past, this makes it likely that there was no mistake about the current allegations. It also shows that the company had notice of the harasser’s conduct and failed to take steps to prevent it.
There are other ways to prove that harassment occurred, and important steps you can take to prevent your employer from coming up with a pretext or alibi to dismiss your allegations. This is why it is important to meet with your own attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
The Oakland sexual harassment attorneys at Minnis and Smallets hold employers accountable for providing a workplace free from sexual harassment. This discourages such conduct in all workplaces and protects other innocent victims from being harassed in the future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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