The workplace should be a space where individuals feel safe, respected, and able to focus on their work. Unfortunately, instances of sexual harassment can disrupt this environment, leaving victims feeling vulnerable and uncertain about how to address the situation.
Recognizing Sexual Harassment
The first step is recognizing what constitutes sexual harassment. It can manifest in various forms. Awareness of these behaviors is crucial for employees to identify when they are being subjected to harassment.
As defined by California state law, examples of sexual harassment in the workplace can include:
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits
- Offensive remarks or jokes of a sexual nature
- Displaying or distributing sexually explicit materials
- Making derogatory comments about someone’s gender or sexual orientation
- Physical contact or touching of a sexual nature without consent
- Creating a hostile work environment through sexual comments or behavior
- Making threats or promises based on the submission to or rejection of sexual advances
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other behaviors that can constitute sexual harassment under California state law. It is important to consult the relevant statutes and seek legal advice if you have concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Keeping a detailed record of incidents is essential. Record the date, time, location, individuals involved, and a description of the harassment. Document any witnesses and their contact information. This documentation will serve as valuable evidence should you decide to take formal action.
Reporting to Human Resources
If you feel comfortable doing so, report the harassment to your company’s human resources department. Provide them with the documented incidents and any evidence you have. Employers have an obligation to prevent unlawful harassment from occurring in the workplace. Submit your complaint in writing and keep a copy of it. Communicate in writing with your employer as much as possible. Far too often in litigation, employers will claim that complaints were never made.
If internal avenues prove ineffective or if the harassment persists, seek legal advice. Consult with an employment attorney to understand your rights and explore legal options. Consulting a lawyer for employee sexual harassment claims in California is beneficial for several reasons:
- Legal expertise: Sexual harassment laws can be complex, and an experienced employment lawyer can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your rights and legal options. They have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the legal system effectively.
- Evaluation of your case: A lawyer can evaluate the strength of your case based on the evidence and circumstances. They can assess whether you have a viable claim and provide guidance on potential outcomes.
- Guidance through the process: An employment lawyer can guide you through the entire process, including filing a complaint with the appropriate agency, gathering evidence, and negotiating with the opposing party. They can help ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and within the required deadlines.
- Protection of your rights: By having a lawyer on your side, you have someone advocating for your rights and interests. They can help prevent any further harassment or retaliation and work to secure the best possible outcome for you.
- Negotiation and settlement: If a settlement is possible, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to obtain a fair resolution. They will work to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for any damages suffered.
- Representation in court: If your case proceeds to court, a lawyer will provide representation and present your case before a judge or jury. They have the experience and skills to effectively argue on your behalf and maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.
It’s important to note that each situation is unique, and consulting with a lawyer allows you to receive personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. Provides Skilled, Experienced Representation
Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is a challenging journey, but it’s crucial for creating a safe and inclusive environment. Employees should not tolerate harassment, and there are avenues available to seek resolution. By recognizing the signs, documenting incidents, and utilizing internal and external resources, individuals can take steps to reclaim their sense of safety and hold perpetrators accountable. Remember, you are not alone, and there is support available to help you navigate these difficult situations.
Every sexual harassment in the workplace lawyer at Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. is available to help clients in Southern California. We offer contingency fee-based services to employee clients, so they never have to worry about costly retainers or hourly fees. We also provide effective and efficient counsel to employer clients. We have recovered millions for our deserving clients in many employment law cases, including sexual harassment. If you want representation, please contact us.