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Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorney in Glendale, CA

Sexual harassment in the workplace has come under increasing – and long overdue – scrutiny over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean it no longer happens. In fact, over 7,500 sexual harassment claims were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2019. Thankfully, California has some of the most protective workplace sexual harassment laws in the country. If you believe you’ve been a victim of this type of conduct, Agemian Law Group’s attorneys can help you fight back with the full strength of those laws.

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Types of Employment Law Cases

Here are just a few of the more common types of California employment law cases we see every month:

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A Sexual Harassment Law Firm That Cares

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation of the law – which would lead one to think that it would be impossible to miss. But the truth is that while this type of unlawful behavior is sometimes direct and aggressive, other times it’s not so obvious, even to the victim. It’s not always a blatant sexual advance; there are other unwelcome acts that can be considered sexual harassment, such as inappropriate sexual jokes, derogatory comments about a person’s sex, oppressive and persistent leering, and other microaggressions. These things can not only affect a person’s job performance but can be psychologically degrading and downright abusive over time. At Agemian Law Group, we understand the toll that this type of unchecked, toxic behavior can take on an individual. Not only do we applaud the strength of the victims who decide to speak up, but we take great pride in defending their voices in court.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re sure you have questions -- in fact, you may never have thought that you’d need the help of an attorney before your accident or incident occurred. Agemian Law Group is here to help you make sense of what’s next.

What constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace?

According to the EEOC, sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” 

Common types of sexual harassment can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Unwanted or inappropriate touching
  • Staring or leering
  • Sending unwanted sexual photos or messages to someone online or via text
  • Unnecessary physical contact, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
  • Inappropriate sexual jokes or derogatory comments

In California law, sexual harassment in the workplace is split into two major categories:

  • “Quid Pro Quo” harassment, and
  • “Hostile Work Environment” harassment

What is workplace quid pro quo sexual harassment?

“Quid pro quo” (Latin for “this for that”) sexual harassment involves a person in power (such as a boss or a supervisor) explicitly or implicitly offering an employment opportunity – or threatening to take it away – in return for that employee's satisfaction of a sexual demand. In other words, the stereotypical “sleep with me or you’re fired” scenario. 

Legally speaking, this type of harassment can only be committed by a supervisor, manager, or another employee who has the power to take some employment action over the victim. Employment actions (either positive or negative) in exchange for a sexual favor – or as punishment for not fulfilling a sexual favor – can include: 

  • A promotion
  • Higher pay
  • Better work schedule
  • Demotion
  • Being fired
  • Lower pay
  • Negative performance reviews

What is a hostile work environment?

It’s important to know that sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be sexual in nature (although there is often some crossover); it can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This type of behavior is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile work environment. Examples of this can include:

  • Frequent derogatory comments about women
  • Intrusive questions about someone’s sexual orientation
  • Rating attractiveness of coworkers
  • Sex or gender based innuendos or comments
  • Excluding certain employees from meetings or projects because of their sexual orientation
  • Making crude jokes or sharing memes that are derogatory to a certain sex or gender
  • Purposefully refusing to use someone’s preferred pronouns or chosen name
  • Refusing to hire or terminating someone because of their gender identity

How to prevent sexual harassment

Speak up! You have every right to report sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers in California not only have a legal obligation to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, but they are responsible for protecting employees who report it. 

This means that if you complain about sexual harassment, either against you or somebody else within your company, it is illegal for you to suffer any consequences in the form of adverse employment actions, such as a demotion, suspension, or termination. In employment law, this is called retaliation and could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Everything You Need To Know

Key Facts About Sexual Harassment Lawsuits in California

Offensive To A Reasonable Person

In order for workplace sexual harassment to be considered illegal in California, it generally needs to:

  1. Be subjectively unwelcome and/or offensive to the victim (this is called the “subjective standard”) – meaning that it personally caused them some level of emotional distress and affected their ability to perform their job. 
  1. The behavior must also be such that any reasonable person would find it objectively offensive, hostile, or abusive. 

If these two criteria are met, then it can legally be considered sexual harassment. 

How To Report Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should:

  • Document everything: Try to keep written records (along with any relevant emails, texts, and social media interactions) of each incident of harassment, including the date, time, and people involved. 
  • Report the conduct: Reading up on your company’s sexual harassment policy and putting in a complaint with a supervisor or the human resources department at your company is a good place to start (and could be important down the line if you want to take legal action).
  • File a sexual harassment complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state’s primary agency charged with protecting Californians from unlawful discrimination in employment. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles federal anti-discrimination laws. 
  • Talk to a lawyer: If you’re unsure about whether to bring a lawsuit, talking to a sexual harassment lawyer is crucial. An experienced attorney will help weigh out your legal options and determine what your best course of action is.

How A Glendale Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help

There can be a lot of gray area when it comes to identifying sexual harassment in the workplace, the severity of it, and the appropriate legal action that should follow. We believe that every potential victim of sexual harassment deserves the chance to – at the very least – clear any doubt in their mind as to whether or not their legal rights have been violated and to know how they can defend themselves.

For this reason, we offer a completely free and confidential case evaluation to help you determine whether a lawsuit should be filed. And if you decide to move forward with us, our workplace sexual harassment lawyers at Agemian Law Group are confident enough to work your case on what’s called contingency. That means that we take 100% of our fees from the settlement you win at the end of the process. If we don’t win you a settlement, you don’t owe us a single dollar.

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