It is a fact that women are far more likely to suffer from workplace sexual harassment than their male counterparts. Even though strides have been made in recent years to train employees about sexual harassment prevention, there’s still much to be done for the victims themselves. As a woman working in a job setting, it can be difficult and traumatic to experience sexual harassment or simply knowing that sexual harassment can still exist despite efforts to eliminate it. Understanding what constitutes sexual harassment is important when searching for a sexual harassment attorney in Pasadena.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual conduct, request for sexual favors (quid pro quo), or other written, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It can occur in the workplace through unwanted flirtation or advances, unwelcome physical touching, or by inappropriate jokes. Sexual harassment in the workplace can involve any gender and involve supervisory or non-supervisory employees. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome comments about physical appearance. Sexual harassment is unlawful and should never be tolerated. If it does happen, those affected should immediately reach out to a sexual harassment attorney in Pasadena for help. Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment that is free from unlawful harassment and a knowledgeable legal counsel can help ensure that victims have their rights protected without the fear of retaliation or retribution. If you are being sexually harassed at work, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you respond appropriately and protect your rights that are provided under California’s sexual harassment laws.
What Do I do If I am Being Sexually Harassed in the Workplace?
You must understand your rights and know what to do if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are being sexually harassed. This includes the gathering of information that supports your claim to filing a complaint with the governmental agencies or court. Here are some tips:
- Gather Information and Record Incidents. The first step is to keep track of any incidents that have occurred. That will include the date(s) of the sexual harassment, the time the sexually harassing events happened, the location(s) of the sexual harassment, the names of who said or did what, etc. This will help build your case should you need to take further action. It can also be beneficial for your mental health to keep records of what happened if you need medical help to recall the traumatic events that happen after one is sexually harassed. Maintaining records also ensures that you can defend yourself from any false allegations that are said in response to your complaint.
- Know and Understand Your Rights. It is important to understand the laws surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace so that you can determine whether or not any incidents occurring constitute such. Knowing your rights allows you to stand up for yourself and make sure that those rights are respected. California has some of the strongest laws in the nation that protect employees that are victims of sexual harassment. The Fair Employment and Housing Act has strict laws that not only make sexual harassment unlawful, it also requires employers to take steps to make sure that sexual harassment does not happen. This includes the requirement that employees undergo training to understand their rights and provide examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Check Workplace Policies & Follow Procedures. Many companies have policies in place regarding sexual harassment, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these policies and understand how they apply to any particular incident. Be sure to follow all procedures outlined by your company when reporting an incident or filing a complaint. These policies are often found in employee handbooks, separate non-harassment or discrimination policies and even postings in the common areas at work, which explain that sexual harassment is against the law.
- Demand that Person to Stop. It may be uncomfortable, but speaking up for yourself is key if someone is behaving inappropriately toward you at work. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, it is important to contact Human Resources so an investigation can begin to make sure that the harassment stops. If you do not have an HR representative, go to your immediate supervisor. If the supervisor is the one harassing you, go to the owner of the company. There is more than one way to report unlawful sexual harassment.
- Talk to Someone. Speaking with someone outside of work who can provide support and advice during this difficult time can be beneficial both mentally and legally when dealing with sexual harassment. This is often a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Religious leaders, family members or friends can also provide the emotional support that is needed in a difficult time.
- Follow up After Complaining to Company. If you reported the sexual harassment to your employer, it has a legal obligation to investigate your complaint. As mentioned above, providing proof of the sexual harassment is very important at this stage. Providing copies of text messages, emails, voicemails, voice memos, videos, photographs, witness statements all help prove that sexual harassment actually happened. Because sexual harassment is very serious, the offenders often lie and will do anything to get out of trouble. With evidence that shows they are lying, you will be able to prove that you were the victim of unlawful harassment.
- File a Complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In addition to filing a complaint within your workplace, it might be necessary to file an administrative complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). The DFEH has an online system for employees to file an administrative charge of sexual harassment to protect their rights (dfeh.ca.gov). It is usually helpful to contact a sexual harassment lawyer before filing the charge because an experienced lawyer can make sure that your rights are protected.
- Search for a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Pasadena. A sexual harassment attorney in Pasadena will be able to help guide you and protect your rights while dealing with this challenging situation. They will also provide legal advice and strategy on the best way to proceed.
Can I Sue for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that affects many in California and it’s important to understand your legal rights in this situation. If you believe you have been subject to sexual harassment at work, one of the first things to do is talk to an expert – such as a sexual harassment attorney in Pasadena – who can provide advice on how best to proceed.
They will advise you on the best steps to take, any relevant California or Federal laws, and whether it could be beneficial to pursue a civil lawsuit against your employer and/or harasser. In California, employers may be strictly liable for incidents of sexual harassment by their supervisory employees and can also be liable for co-workers that commit sexual harassment, so it’s important to discuss this with your attorney. By doing so, you can gain the assurance that you are represented and your attorney will do everything possible to help you get the compensation and justice that you deserve.
Search for a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Pasadena
When facing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important not only to stay aware of your rights but also to take action immediately. These steps outlined above should help you craft a strategy on how best to deal with this issue correctly.
Don’t suffer alone. Protect your rights today. If you have been sexually harassed at work and need legal advice and counsel, seek out a sexual harassment attorney in Pasadena. Contact us today – MC Law can get you the help you need.