Bay Area Sexual Harassment Attorney
Sexual harassment is the most common form of harassment that employees experience in the workplace. Sexual harassment is illegal under both federal and California law and becomes a violation when it is so severe or constant that it changes the conditions of the victim’s employment and creates a hostile working environment. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment by a co-worker, supervisor, or someone else at your workplace, contact the Bay Area injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Sterns & Walker right away. Our experienced sexual harassment attorneys will aggressively protect your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
What is Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is generally defined as unwanted sexual contact. It usually occurs as one of two main types:
- Quid pro quo harassment occurs when employment is conditioned on the employee’s submission to unwelcome sexual advancement (i.e. offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors). For example, a supervisor may threaten an employee with termination if the employee refuses to have sex with him or her.
- Unwelcome sexual conduct is conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive environment for the employee. For example, this may include visual conduct such as displaying sexual pictures, verbal conduct such as making sexual comments, and physical conduct such as inappropriate touching.
Both male and female employees can be victims of sexual harassment, and the law also protects employees from sexual harassment by a member of the same sex. In addition, the victim does not have to be the employee directly harassed and can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Sexual Harassment under California Law
Sexual harassment violates federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is also prohibited under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment if the conduct affects a person’s employment, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance, or creates an abusive, intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Under the FEHA, harassment based on sex, gender, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, are considered sexual harassment. Under California law, illegal harassment may include any of the following examples:
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors (or making threats of reprisals after a negative response)
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Visual conduct such as sexual gestures, leering, display of sexual pictures or images
- Verbal conduct such as derogatory comments, slurs and jokes
- Verbal sexual propositions
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
- Verbal comments about a person’s body
- Sexually degrading words used to describe a person
- Sexually suggestive or obscene letters, e-mails or notes
- Unwanted physical contact such as touching, assault, or impeding a person’s movements
- Harassment based on gender
California Sexual Harassment Attorney
You have a right under federal and state law to be free of sexual harassment at your place of employment. If you have been sexually harassed at your workplace, it is essential that you contact a California sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. Because the statute of limitations (deadline for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit) is not very clearly defined, an employee should immediately contact an attorney once they feel there has been sexual harassment. There is also a requirement that a claim must be filed with a state or federal agency prior to filing a lawsuit. The experienced sexual harassment attorneys at Sterns & Walker can help you with your claim and provide skillful guidance and representation throughout the entire process. We will fight to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.