Sexual harassment in the workplace should never be accepted or tolerated as the norm. And yet, in Riverside, these types of behaviors in the workplace are often endured by employees who are afraid to speak up for fear of endangering their careers or livelihoods.
Reporting sexual harassment is also never easy for victims. There is the fear of humiliation, the fear that they could be blamed for what happened, retaliation from the employer or even fear of losing their job.
If you are being sexually harassed at work, it is important that you contact the experienced Riverside sexual harassment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is sadly pervasive in workplaces in Riverside and the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in the year 2018, the agency received more than 7,500 sexual harassment claims, which was a 14% increase from the prior year.
It is against the law to harass a person, whether it's a job applicant or employee, because of his or her sex. Harassment of this nature could include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment. However, harassment doesn't have to be of a sexual nature and could even include offensive remarks about women in in general. Both the victim and the harasser could be either a man or a woman and the victim and harasser could be of the same sex.
The law doesn't prohibit offhand comments, isolated incidents, or teasing that is not considered serious by a reasonable person. However, harassment is unlawful when it is so frequent or so severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it leads to an adverse employment decision such as the victim being fired or demoted. A harasser could be the victim's supervisor, a manager in another area, a co-worker or someone who is not even employed with the company such as a client or customer.
Am I a Victim of Sexual Harassment?
How can you tell if you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace? What constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace? These are questions our Riverside sexual harassment lawyers are often asked by prospective clients. Here are some of the most common types of sexual harassment we see in the workplace:
Unwanted sexual attention: This is typically when an employee is faced with sexual attention and advances that are unwanted. An example of this is an employee pressuring another to go out on a date or asking for sexual favors.
Quid pro quo or coercion: This normally involves a person who is a manager or supervisor who requests sexual favors in exchange for some type of employment benefits such as extra pay, a promotion or some other perk. If your supervisor threatens you with adverse actions or retaliates against you because you turned down his or her advances, that is unlawful sexual harassment as well. In such cases, even a single incident of sexual misconduct is serious enough to bring a claim as opposed to a pattern of this type of behavior.
Gender harassment: This is when someone in the workplace undermines employees simply because of their gender. An example is when a male co-worker makes demeaning statements to a woman that she cannot handle her job because she is female.
Hostile work environment: This can occur when someone who is working at the company makes intimidating or threatening comments, jokes or repeated sexual advances which then affects the ability of an employee to properly perform their job. This type of sexual harassment is focused more on the hostile and offensive nature of the conduct that makes the workplace toxic.
If you believe you have been subjected to such harassment or discrimination, it is important that you contact an experienced Riverside sexual harassment lawyer who can help hold your employer accountable and help secure justice and fair compensation for your losses.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Sexual Harassment Lawyer?
If you have evidence that you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important that you contact an experienced sexual harassment lawyer right away. There are a number of ways in which a lawyer will be able to help you in such situations. In addition to helping you prepare to report the harassment, an employment lawyer will advise you about other steps you can take to protect your rights.
These steps may include documenting the harassment and all discussions you have had with your employer about it; preparing you to deal with the harasser if the situation continues; advising you about how to report future harassment to your employer; and monitoring your employer's response to your complaint and ensure that your employer does not retaliate against you.
Dealing with sexual harassment at work can be emotionally draining at well. This could be a time when it may be difficult for you to process what is happening to you or think clearly. An employment lawyer can be an important and much-needed resource to draw on so you can determine your course of action.
Damages in Sexual harassment Cases
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you may be able to seek damages including:
Back pay: This typically includes the wages and benefits you've lost as a result of the harassment including because of demotion or job loss.
Front pay: Compensation for pay you are likely to lose until you are employed again, in lieu of reinstatement.
Pain and suffering: Employees are also eligible to receive compensatory damages for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. This includes compensation for emotional trauma employees endure as a result of the sexual harassment.
Punitive damages: These types of damages are awarded to punish the employer for allowing egregious acts of harassment to take place in the workplace.
While federal law places limits on how much a victim can be awarded for pain and suffering and punitive damage, at the state level as part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, there are no limits on the amount of recoverable compensatory or punitive damages in employment discrimination cases. California also allows employees to recover attorney's fees and other litigation costs.
Our Riverside Sexual Harassment Lawyers Can Help
The experienced Riverside employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley have a long and successful track record of helping employees stand up and fight against unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace. We help our clients to not just navigate this complex area of the law, but also to formulate and effective strategy that will help them hold their employers accountable and maximize compensation. Call us at 888-209-8927 for a free, initial consultation. We will fight for your rights every step of the way.