How To Deal With Sexual Harassment In Your Office

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Harassment between men & women at work may not be a new subject. However, the recent #MeToo movement has proven to be a new force for enabling people to stand against abuse from their employers & coworkers. According to the EEOC, the number of sexual harassment lawsuits filed by their attorney’s has increased by 50% in 2018 alone, and the conversation around workplace harassment has changed dramatically over the past year and a half.

The bottom line is, sexual harassment is illegal. It is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Regardless of whether a harasser is an office assistant or a famous TV personality, reporting sexual harassment at work is never an easy battle to wage alone. It’s generally more difficult for the “average” worker, who may not have the financial means or professional trust to take action on their own.

Across all industries, we’re seeing a rise in not only sexual harassment cases but in open dialogues for people to come forward with their cases safely. If you or someone you know has been subjected to sexual harassment in a workplace, give Younessi Law a call at (323)777-7777 and one of our agents can help you through the situation. Here’s what you need to know about sexual harassment:

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Sexual Harassment lawsuits are on the rise.

If the average number of sexual harassment based cases that the EEOC handled per year was approximately 12,500, then it means that in 2018 alone we’ve spiked up to more than 18,700 cases filed, and the year isn’t even over.


Different Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment comes in many different forms. While typically harassment is thought of as unwanted advances, there are more subtle forms of sexual harassment that are important to watch out for.

This for That” is when an employer or coworker places conditions on your career, employment, or responsibilities in exchange for sexual favors. An example of this is if your boss offers you a raise in exchange for a sexual favor. This direct type of harassment is also known as “Quid Pro Quo”.

Hostile Work Environment” is an indirect form of sexual harassment. This usually occurs when a victim is subjected to unwanted or otherwise offensive comments and behavior of a sexual nature, thus creating a work environment that is inhospitable for the victim.

Other examples of conduct that is considered illegal and prosecutable under California law are:

  • Sexual Innuendo or lewd/unsolicited comments, either verbal or written

  • Sending Pornography or sexually inappropriate media to a colleague

  • Detailing personal sexual exploits while at work

  • Repeatedly asking a coworker for a date after they have already said no

  • Pressuring coworkers for sexual favors or inappropriate interactions

  • Intimidation or exclusion of employees after turning down sexual advances

  • Suggesting that a coworker is better or worse at something based on their gender or sexual orientation

  • Comments speculating on the sexual orientation or preferences of a colleague

  • Creating or distributing sexist or insulting media to colleagues

  • Staring/Stalking

  • Indecent Exposure

  • Unwanted or unsolicited touching

  • Blocking or otherwise impeding someone else's movement

This list is only a small portion of potential sexual harassment situations. As a rule of thumb, if you feel in any way uncomfortable in the workplace, and you suspect that your gender, sex, or sexual orientation is the motivator behind the unwanted behavior, you should notify management or contact a sexual harassment lawyer to help you.

All employers have an explicit responsibility to protect its community of employees from harassment. Where there is a lack of systematic processes to enable this protection, the employer is held responsible, not the victim.


What To Do If You’re Being Sexually Harassed At Work

Report the behavior. Employers are legally required to ensure a discrimination-free and safe work environment for all co-workers as a whole. Regardless of your gender, sex, or sexual orientation, you should always feel comfortable where you work, and your employers have a job to make sure that they maintain that whilst keeping colleagues behavior in line. If you’ve been the victim of any kind of sexual harassment, first follow up with your employer’s Human Resources department to figure out the next steps available for you specifically.

Document everything. In order to ensure a strong case, you should be documenting any and all evidence of harassment. Keep a log that includes dates & times, save any related messages, media, or information about the offensive behavior, as well as descriptions of the situation & what happened. Keep note of any attempts to speak with HR or other management about the harassment, and save any emails or written conversations to back you up.

Contact a lawyer. At times, legal counsel may be required. You can call Younessi Law at (323)777-7777 to speak with one of our agents about your potential case. There is no fee for consultation, and we do not charge you anything unless we win the case for you. With over 24 years of experience in helping other victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, we are well equipped to make sure you are taken care of and that justice is served.

Can My Employer Punish Me For Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

No, not legally anyway. It is against the law to retaliate (punish) someone for complaining about sexual harassment or participating in an investigation related to harassment. Examples of unlawful retaliation are if you are forced out on leave while the harasser continues to work, or reassigned to a less desirable position after filing a complaint about sexual harassment.

What Happens After You File A Sexual Harassment Claim

After you file a formal complaint with the EEOC and/or your state’s fair employment agency, you may also consider filing a lawsuit. The relief you can seek in a lawsuit will vary depending on your particular case, the charges, as well as your company structure. Typical remedies include money damages, getting your job back (if you’ve been transferred or fired), or forcing your employer to change its practices to prevent future sexual harassment from occurring to you, as well as other future employees as a whole.

If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, please give us a call at (323)777-777 for a free consultation to discuss your options. Our agents speak both Spanish & English and with over 24 years of experience serving the Los Angeles county area, we will be able to help guide you through the situation to get you the compensation & justice you deserve.