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Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney

 

Tower Legal Group is dedicated to representing employees who have encountered Sexual Harassment in the workplace in Sacramento County, Placer County, Yolo County, Yuba County, Sutter County, and surrounding areas.

While employees can also be harassed because of their disability, race, national origin, marital status, and sexual orientation, harassment based on Sex (pregnancy or gender) is the most prevalent form of harassment.  We understand how difficult and sensitive these matters can be, so it is important that you contact one of our experienced attorneys who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment does not always have to involve sex or sexual acts. It can include teasing, intimidation or offensive comments based on stereotypes such as how certain people should act. It could also include bullying someone or a group of employees based on their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

There are two types of sexual harassment:

Quid pro quo harassment.  Translated from Latin, the phrase quid pro quo means “something for something.”  This occurs when an employer demands something (i.e. sexual favors, a date, etc.) in order to be employed by them, or a threat of adverse employment action (demotion, pay raises, etc).  Subtle hints or innuendos can be harassment as long as a reasonable person would interpret the conduct to be a threat or demand.

Hostile work environment.  This type of sexual harassment occurs when an employer subjects an employee to unwelcome sexual conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to interfere with an employee’s work performance or create an intimidating work environment.  Whether the sexual conduct is pervasive depends on the circumstances, including the nature of the conduct, its frequency, and the context in which it occurs.

Recently, the California Legislature recently made clear that one single incident of harassment may be sufficient to create a hostile work environment if it “unreasonably interfered” with the employee’s work environment or if it “created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.” It also clarified that employees do not need to show that their productivity declined as a result of the harassment but rather only need to show that the harassment made it “more difficult to do the job.”

The status of the harasser may also make the harassing conduct more severe. Harassment by a high-level executive, manager, or owner is more serious. Moreover, employees do not have to be the direct target of sexual harassment to experience a hostile work environment.  An employee can experience a hostile work environment if they witness or observe sexual harassment occurring in the workplace.  Additionally, an employee who witness sexual harassment in the workplace and opposes the harassment is protected from retaliation by their employer.

 

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?

The following types of conduct can constitute sexual harassment:

  • Unwelcome sexual comments or jokes – such as dirty jokes about one’s physical attributes, spreading rumors about an employee’s sexual activity, talking about one’s sexual activity in front of other employees. These comments may be made either in person or in writing, including electronic communication like texts, emails, instant message, social media, etc.
  • Unwanted touching – any sexually suggestive touching, groping, or contact against the employee’s wishes, such as hugging, kissing or fondling.
  • Invasion of an employee’s personal space – such as impeding an employee’s movements or standing uncomfortably close to an employee
  • Staring at an employee – such as persistent staring or leering at an employee’s body or body parts in a sexual manner
  • Unwanted sexual advances – this type of conduct may occur in person, verbally or physically, as well as in writing or electronically.
  • Repeated requests for dates or sexual favors – a single request for a date will not amount to sexual harassment, but repeated requests for a date or being punished for rejecting a date is actionable
  • Posting, circulating or showing sexually explicit images or material in the workplace – such as tecting, e-mailing or viewing pornographic images on the job
  • Sexist comments or conduct – this includes derogatory comments, insults, or slurs about women, telling women to wear certain types of clothing, excluding women from important meetings because of their gender

Who Is Liable for Sexual Harassment?

Under California law, an employer is strictly liable when a manager or supervisor engages in sexual harassment. This means that if a manager or supervisor sexually harasses a subordinate, the employer is liable.  This can also be a team lead or shift leader.  However, an employer is only liable for harassment between co-workers if it knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take appropriate action.  In both cases, the employees who engage in the harassment are personally liable for their conduct. Employers are also liable for harassment by their customers or clients (such as independent contractors) if they know or should have known about the harassment and failed to act.

Failure to Investigate Harassment

Employers have a duty under California law to investigate claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Despite this legal obligation, some employers either fail to investigate allegations of sexual harassment or are negligent in their investigation.  A well-known example of an employer failing to take adequate steps to address alleged sexual harassment is detailed in the San Francisco case of Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie, 63 Cal. App. 4th 1128 (1998).   A jury awarded Ms. Weeks $7 million dollars because of her employer’s failure to investigate sexual harassment and being subjected to severe sexual harassment.  This case is an example of Corporations not taking sexual harassment cases seriously.

Opposing Sexual Harassment

Opposing sexual harassment in the workplace is a protected activity in California.  An employee cannot be retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment that either he/she experienced first-hand or witnessed happen to a co-worker  A well known example of retaliation for opposing conduct reasonable believed to sexual harassment is Yanowitz v L’Oreal, 36 Cal. 4th 1028 (2005). Ms. Yanowitz’s refusal to fire another female employee because the employee did not meet a male executive’s standards for sexual attractiveness was a protected activity under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.  Ms. Yanowitz reasonably believed this to be sexual harassment and opposed the practice.  She was terminated for not terminating the employee whom the Executive believed was not attractive enough to sell cosmetics.  Ms. Yanowitz sued her employer and won.  The case resolved in a confidential settlement.

If you think you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace, you might be feeling angry, disgusted or even a loss of your self-esteem. At the same time, you also may be anxious about the possibility of losing your job, getting a poor performance review or being demoted.  If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation, please reach out to us for a Free Confidential, No-Obligation Consultation.

Unlawful employment practices occur frequently, and people suffer from this misconduct every day. The government aims to protect employees from the possible mistreatment from employers. Employment law is meant to protect employees from the unfair behavior at work.

In California, if a manager or the owner of the company engages in sexual harassment against an employee under his or her direct supervision, the company may be held strictly liable.

Employers are not allowed to retaliate against their employees if they choose to complain or expose misconduct in the workplace. All too often employers violate these California Retaliation laws and punish employees who report them. Retaliation can be done by cutting wages, demoting an employee or wrongful termination.

If you have experienced unfair behavior do not hesitate to call a Sacramento Sexual Harassment Lawyer from our firm to defend you and your rights. Contact Tower Legal Group right away to schedule a Free Case Evaluation and discuss your case.

 

WHY HIRE TOWER LEGAL GROUP?

 

  • Compassionate Counsel and Experienced, Aggressive Representation
  • Long history of success defending Employees Rights
  • Well-versed in all California Employment Laws
  • Seasoned Employment Law Trial Lawyers
  • Serving clients throughout the Greater Sacramento area
  • Cases handled on a Contingency Fee Basis

In order to make our services available to everyone, we handle your case on a Contingency Fee Basis. This means that we are only paid when we recover money for you. Through this arrangement you can obtain legal assistance even if you are unable to pay attorney’s fees. Our law firm advances expenses to pay for expert witnesses, court costs and other necessary fees. These expenses are reimbursed to the firm when we win a favorable verdict or settle your case.

If you have suffered from any type of misconduct or have witnessed unlawful behavior you can take action. Seek assistance from a Sacramento Sexual Harassment Attorney from Tower Legal Group and see how we may be to help you.

“No Fees Until We WIN For You”

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