Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem not just in San Bernardino, but also across California and the nation. San Bernardino is home to a variety of businesses from warehouses owned by some of the largest corporations in the United States to hospitals, packing facilities, distribution centers and other commercial and retail spaces. With an increase in a variety of businesses and employers in San Bernardino and the Inland Empire, there have been increases in reports of sexual harassment and other types of discrimination in the workplace.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to remember that you have legal rights. Federal and state laws prohibit this type of harassment and discrimination. Our experienced San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyers can help protect your rights and assist you with better understanding your legal options.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment refers to behaviors or a pattern of behaviors in the workplace that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile work environment. Under the law, not every action or comment qualifies as sexual harassment. If you are confronted with conduct that you believe is sexual harassment, it would be in your best interest to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to figure out whether the behavior toward you fits the legal definition of sexual harassment.
Here are some of the common most examples of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos such as salacious gifs or pornography with colleagues.
- Sending sexually suggestive notes, emails or texts to co-workers.
- Displaying sexual images in the workplace.
- Telling lewd jokes or sharing sexual anecdotes.
- Asking a co-worker about his or her sex life or telling them about one's sex life.
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures.
- Making sexual comments about an employee's body parts, appearance or clothing.
- Inappropriate and/or unwanted touching.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
If you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you may need to take certain steps to protect your rights. So, it is crucial to contact an experienced sexual harassment lawyer as soon as you can. Your employer's policy as well as California and federal laws may require you to report possible sexual harassment to either the human resources department or some other manager. Our San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyers will help you determine the right human resources manager or other employee to whom you should report the harassing behavior. Our lawyers can also work with you to outline your description of the harassing conduct.
How We Help Protect Your Rights
In addition to helping you prepare to report sexual harassment, our lawyers will also advise about the important steps you can take to protect yourself. We will help you document the harassment and all discussions about it with your employer. Our attorneys can help prepare you to deal with the harasser if the unlawful behavior continues. We can also advise you about how to report future harassing behavior to your employer and monitor your employer's response to your complaint in order to make sure your employer doesn't engage in retaliatory behavior.
Investigating Sexual Harassment
The law requires your employer to investigate any complaints of sexual harassment. Your employer is prohibited under the law from taking any steps that could negatively affect your employment. Our experienced employment lawyers can check in with you during the investigation and confirm that your employer is following the rule of the law.
It is also important to note that employers are prohibited by the law from retaliating against employees who report sexual harassment. Retaliation could come in many different forms other than wrongful termination or demotion. For example, your employer could leave you out of work-related discussions, events or meetings after you report the harassment. Our lawyers can help analyze these types of actions to see if they amount to retaliation.
Filing a Complaint
Our San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyers can also help you through the process of filing a discrimination charge against your employer with a state agency or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We advise our clients about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so as well of filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer if you are not satisfied with their response to your harassment complaint.
The EEOC will typically conduct an investigation of your complaint. If they are unable to resolve the complaint, they will provide you with a "notice to sue," which gives you the green light to move forward with a sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer.
What Damages Can I Receive in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
If you've been a victim of sexual harassment in a San Bernardino workplace, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The amount of financial compensation you receive will depend on the type of harm you've suffered as a result of the harassment. Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace can typically seek compensation for back pay that includes wages and benefits lost as a result of the harassment or discrimination. In addition to wages and benefits, back pay includes bonuses, commissions, tips, vacation or sick pay as well as stock options. You may also be able to get "front pay" if you were terminated or forced to quit as a result of the sexual harassment. This is essentially any wage loss you are likely to suffer in the future.
In addition to back and front pay, you may also be able to receive compensatory damages for pain and suffering. This refers to any type of physical or emotional injuries you may have suffered as a result of the sexual harassment. In some egregious cases, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs may also be awarded.
Get Help Now
You do not have to go through this ordeal on your own. Contact our San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyers for a free, initial consultation. We represent our clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay any fees unless you win or recover compensation, and you will never have to pay out of pocket. Call Kingsley & Kingsley today at 888-209-8927 to find out how we can help you.