Sexual Harassment

California Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Sexual harassment is unfortunately a common occurrence in today's workplace environment. Workplace sexual harassment can severely impact the lives of victims and their families. Workers who are harassed often feel trapped between enduring the harassment and potentially losing their job. Fortunately, both California and federal laws protect employees from being the target of unwelcomed sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment can be the result of unwanted actions taken by either a supervisor, including an owner, as well as a co-worker. Regardless of the rank of worker committing sexual harassment, a company or owner has the duty to stop any such sexual harassment about which it may have knowledge.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, do not feel as though you must endure it to keep your job. It is important that you make your employer aware of the unwelcomed harassing behavior as soon as possible. It is also in your interest to contact an attorney who can help you evaluate your potential sexual harassment claim and determine what action you can take to protect yourself.

There are two types of sexual harassment, which are referred to as "hostile work environment" and "quid pro quo" harassment.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is a form of sexual harassment that occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual actions or sexual advances. The unwanted actions may be verbal or physical in nature. Direct statements, emails, or proliferation of pornography, for example, may each include unwanted sexual content that creates a hostile work environment. Typically, acts that are pervasive or particularly egregious may lead to a legal finding of a hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid Pro Quo is a Latin term meaning "this for that". This type of harassment occurs when an employer, usually a supervisor, offers preferential workplace treatment in exchange for sex. The supervisor typically either has or professes to have the power to offer special treatment, such as a promotion or a pay increase in exchange for sex. In another common scenario, the supervisor or superior will threaten to fire or demote an employee unless the employee agrees to the requested sexual favors.

Our attorneys can help those who are the victims of sexual harassment that involves any of the following:

  • Unwanted physical contact, such as touching or grabbing
  • Uninvited sexual advances
  • Threats of termination for refusing to engage in sexual conduct
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Displays of sexually suggestive pictures or photographs
  • Sexually offensive statements

How to Stop Sexual Harassment

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, you should report the problem to your human resources department, your supervisor, and, if applicable, your union representative. Many times, an immediate supervisor is aware of a sexual harassment problem but may not be proactive in putting a stop to it. Getting human resources involved is important because when handled properly, an investigation of the situation will be conducted.

You should also contact a California sexual harassment attorney experienced in evaluating sexual harassment claims. Attorney David Hawkes can help you understand how to end the harassment and pursue any potential sexual harassment claims you may have. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and achieved favorable monetary outcomes for clients who have been illegally subjected to sexual harassment. Please contact us if you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment, and one of our knowledgeable California sexual harassment lawyers will help you with your potential sexual harassment claim.