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.
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.
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.
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:
In California law, sexual harassment in the workplace is split into two major categories:
“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:
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:
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.
In order for workplace sexual harassment to be considered illegal in California, it generally needs to:
If these two criteria are met, then it can legally be considered sexual harassment.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should:
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.