Skilled Sexual Harassment Lawyers In Woodland Hills, California
Over the past few years, the #MeToo movement has shone a well-deserved light on sexual harassment in the workplace. Ignored for far too long, the law is beginning to hold harassers and employers accountable, even though laws have been on the books for decades.
In California, sexual harassment is inappropriate conduct motivated by sex or gender. While many harassment cases such as the ones that have made recent news are egregious in nature, sexual harassment can be far more subtle. In fact, it doesn’t even require physical contact. Sexual harassment is inappropriate and unwanted behavior in the workplace concerning sex, gender, sexual orientation, or other matters of a sexual nature. If you are the victim of sexual harassment at work, our Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorney at Winer, Burritt & Scott can help.
Sexual Harassment Laws In California
The state of California has some of the strictest laws surrounding sexual harassment in the nation. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination in the workplace that violates both California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It involves any unwelcome sexual advances or other forms of visual, verbal, or physical contact of a sexual nature that has created a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment in the workplace.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protect employees from sexual harassment, defining two main categories of sexual harassment:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment — Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase often used in the legal community that means “this for that.” In terms of sexual harassment, it means the exchange of something from the supervisor for some form of sexual favor from the employee. This will always involve a superior and lesser rank employee relationship, where one potentially has workplace power over the other. If the superior is powerful enough, they will not need to make an explicit proposal. The employee understands the implicit one and has been given little choice in the matter.
- Hostile Work Environment — A hostile work environment is one where one or more employees feel unsafe or uncomfortable in the workplace because of sexual harassment from another co-worker. This typically involves forms of innuendos, jokes, emails, sexual discrimination, or other harassment that is pervasive enough that it intimidates others. This must be severe enough that any reasonable person would feel the same.
Unfortunately, many victims of sexual harassment do not report it for fear that no one will believe them and their job may be on the line. However, when there is compelling evidence to support harassment allegations, the employer may be held accountable. If you have been the subject of sexual harassment, the Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorneys at Winer, Burritt & Scott can help you understand your rights and options.
An Employer’s Liability In A Sexual Harassment Claim
Under California law, employers have a duty to use all reasonable steps to prevent harassment and discrimination as well as the duty to investigate any complaints. They are also required to distribute California’s harassment pamphlet, put written anti-harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies in place, with procedures to report any misconduct, and train supervisors accordingly. If the employer does not take action to halt the harassment, they can be held liable.
State law holds employers strictly liable when supervisors and managers use their power and authority to harass or intimidate employees. In this case, the employee may be able to recover financial compensation and may even be able to qualify for punitive damages against a company’s officers, directors, or other managing agents if the harassment was known about, but they did nothing to stop it.
If harassment comes from another co-worker and not a superior, an employer is liable if a superior or supervisor was aware of the conduct, or should have reasonably known about it, and took no actions to stop it.
If you have been the subject of sexual harassment, the Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorneys at Winer, Burritt & Scott can help protect your rights and hold your employer accountable.
What Can Be Considered Sexual Harassment?
There are many things that can be considered sexual harassment in the workplace. These can include:
- Outright requests for sexual favors
- Inappropriate touching, hugging, or kissing
- Discrimination based on another’s gender or sexual orientation
- Sharing sexually explicit images, texts, or videos
- Making sexually suggestive remarks in emails or other correspondence
- Making inappropriate comments concerning appearance or body parts
- Making inappropriate gestures
- Asking sexually motivated questions or making sexual suggestions, innuendos, or jokes
- Spreading sexual rumors about a co-worker
Sexual harassment can be overt or subtle and doesn’t require any physical contact. If you suspect sexual harassment in your place of employment, you should get the guidance of a skilled Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorney to help you understand your legal rights. At Winer, Burritt & Scott, we offer a confidential, no-cost consultation to discuss your case.
Getting Skilled Legal Assistance
When you have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, we take your allegations seriously. The Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorneys at Winer, Burritt & Scott can help protect your rights under the law. Contact us online or call us to schedule a free, confidential consultation.