Sexual harassment has long been prohibited in the workplace. It is important for workers to enforce their legal right to be free from sexual harassment when working. Not only is it your legal right, but holding employers accountable for allowing such conduct to persist also protects other innocent victims. Sexual harassment claims deter other employers from allowing such conduct in their workplaces. A sexual harassment lawyer near San Francisco can help you develop the right legal strategy to enforce your legal rights in the workplace. Remember, the human resources department is not on your side, so it is important to consult with a lawyer who is.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct in the workplace based upon your gender. The law considers this a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the terms and conditions of your employment are changed based upon your gender when you are subject to sexual harassment in the workplace. State laws also invoke protections to prevent sexual harassment on the job. There are two main types of sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo literally means “this for that.” It refers to a type of sexual harassment in which an employee is asked to exchange sexual favors for preferential treatment in the workplace. Quid pro quo can also be used to threaten an employee with detrimental treatment in the workplace (such as being demoted, being forced to take a pay cut, or being fired outright).
A hostile work environment is created when there are words, gestures, or actions that demean an employee based upon gender. This can be a difficult legal standard to prove. After all, different employees find different behavior acceptable, so many employers try to claim that a hostile work environment was really a “simple joke” that got “blown out of proportion.” The legal test for identifying a hostile work environment is one that would be intimidating, hostile or offensive to a reasonable worker. This can be determined by a jury if the parties cannot agree on whether the legal standard is met.
In order to meet the legal standard, the environment must also be severe and pervasive enough to offend the “reasonable worker.” There are very few cases in which a single incident will meet the standard of “severe and pervasive.” Most cases also require that the employer be notified of the conduct and given a chance to correct it. This is not always the case, however, and it is important that you feel safe in the workplace. Work with your lawyer to determine what the right legal strategy should be for your particular situation.
At Minnis & Smallets, we fight hard to protect San Francisco employees’ right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced sexual harassment lawyers. Don’t delay – the sooner you enforce your legal rights, the safer all California workplaces will be for innocent employees.
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