Sexual harassment continues to be a rampant problem in California workplaces, including entertainment companies, tech corporations, and similar popular industries. However, sexual harassment can happen in any type of workplace – from a three-employee startup to a retail boutique to a car dealership.
One thing that employees who experience sexual harassment have in common is that they have important legal rights under California and federal laws. Anyone who believes they were sexually harassed should discuss their options with a sexual harassment lawyer in San Francisco at the law firm of Minnis & Smallets.
Sexual harassment takes different forms, and the two main types are called quid pro quo harassment and a hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo harassment – This is a serious type of harassment that pressures employees to engage in unwanted sexual conduct or acceptance of abusive or offensive conduct that is related to the employee’s gender. For example, the harasser might threaten to terminate or demote the employee if they refuse to engage in sexual conduct. On the other hand, they might promise the employee a promotion, pay increase, or other benefits if they agree.
When someone engages in this type of harassment, the employer is immediately liable for the conduct and to provide relief to the harassed employee.
Hostile work environment – Not all cases of harassment involve a boss requesting sexual favors with the employee’s job on the line. Other employees experience harassing conduct from coworkers or others involved in their jobs. These harassers might make persistent jokes or comments that are sex-related, or they might engage in one-time conduct that sufficiently offends, humiliates, or distresses an employee. If a reasonable person would find difficulty performing their jobs with such conduct, it can rise to the level of unlawful harassment.
Anyone who experiences such harassment should report it to their employer as soon as possible. The employer then has to stop the harassment, including by terminating or transferring the harasser. If the harassment stops, no liability attaches to the employer. If the employer takes inadequate action to stop the harassment, the company should be liable for hostile work environment harassment.
Not all cases of sex-based harassment involve one person making sexual advances or comments to an employee. Unlawful harassment can be based on an employee’s sexual orientation, gender nonconformity or expression, gender identity, or even pregnancy. If an employee suffers harassment based on any of these protected characteristics, it can constitute unlawful harassment, and the employee has important legal rights.
If you have a sexual harassment claim, the right attorney can evaluate your legal rights and options. The remedies you can seek will depend on your situation, and they can include compensation for lost income or emotional distress, reinstatement to your job (if you desire), and more. The team at Minnis & Smallets is here to assist, so please contact us today.
If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.
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