In October of 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a series of new sexual harassment laws intended to strengthen the existing protections for workers, lengthen the amount of time that a worker has to file a complaint, and outlaws the ability for employers to force arbitration as a condition of employment. These were just a few of the worker protections that went into Assembly Bill 9, the bill signed by Governor Newsom.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you have many different protections in place that are intended to give you the justice that you deserve after this unwanted and unwelcome behavior. As a victim, you may be able to seek compensation for a variety of factors, all of which we will be happy to discuss with you during an initial consultation. Read more below to get a better idea of what type of behaviors are considered sexual harassment, as well as how to handle this sexual harassment and move forward with a formal complaint.
We understand that this can be an uncomfortable situation to approach on your own, no matter what the circumstances. That is another reason why working with a lawyer is such a help: we can handle all of the required steps in order to initiate your complaint, interact with your employer, and much more.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex.” The EEO goes on to state that although the law does not prohibit simple teasing or isolated offhand remarks, these acts are considered to be sexual harassment when they create a hostile or uncomfortable environment.
Sexual harassment can take a variety of shapes and forms in the workplace, but under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are two distinct types of sexual harassment recognized: quid pro quo, and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is a situation where someone is pressured to endure the harassment by a superior in order to make sure that their job is secure, that they are able to get promotions, or otherwise are able to enjoy the benefits of their work. This is a very manipulative and stressful situation because the victim's professional and financial security are directly tied into this demeaning and traumatizing behavior. In a quid pro quo situation, such as a boss requesting a sexual favor in exchange for a promotion, an isolated incident is still grounds for a claim.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment that falls under the label of a hostile work environment is different from quid pro quo sexual harassment because there is no threat of job security or any other power dynamic attached to it. The question at the center of this case is whether or not the work environment was, in fact, hostile, and whether or not the acts that made it hostile were sexual in nature. An isolated event may be difficult to initiate a claim form, but speaking with an attorney is the best way to understand the path forward.
Know Your Rights
You are legally protected from sexual harassment of any form in the workplace, and there are ample rights and laws in place to give you options for a civil case. The team at Timothy J Ryan & Associates understands that this is a complex, upsetting, and tricky time in your life, and we will be happy to work with you in order to reach a swift resolution and a just outcome. This behavior is unwarranted, unfair, and extremely dangerous for your own mental health, so the sooner you act, the sooner you will be able to focus on yourself without concern for your emotional or physical safety at work.
What Is a Good Outcome of a Sexual Harassment Case?
There are a variety of outcomes that we will be able to work towards, each of which will be very specific to your own situation. In many cases, we may be able to seek some sort of financial compensation in order to give you the ability to leave this toxic work environment and take your time to find something else. In other cases, you may be entitled to additional compensation if the company either failed or refused to address the situation, and instead contributed to the hostile work environment by not protecting their employee.
Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation, where we can discuss the situation, the steps that you have taken, and how we can help you move forward with the best chances of a positive outcome.