San Diego Sexual Harassment Lawyers
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advance or conduct at work that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Any conduct of a sexual nature that makes an employee uncomfortable has the potential to be sexual harassment.
Given this broad definition, it is not surprising that sexual harassment comes in many forms.
Types of Sexual Harassment
When you file a sexual harassment claim in court, your complaint will need to fall into one of the following two categories:
- In Latin, quid pro quo translates to “something for something.” Therefore, when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, this occurs when a manager or authority figure tells, or hints to, an employee they will give the individual something in exchange for a sexual demand. The “something” could be a raise, promotion, larger office, etc. Quid pro quo can also occur with a job applicant in an interview process.
- Sexual harassment in a hostile work environment occurs when there are demeaning or sexual photographs, jokes, or threats. Additionally, the inappropriate behavior must be so pervasive that it creates an intimidating and offensive work environment and the employee being harassed feels they cannot do their job.
Common Examples of Sexual Harassment
In recent years, a new spotlight has drawn toward sexual harassment – especially when it occurs in the workplace. What’s been revealed by renewed attention toward this employment-based injustice is a greater need to hold employers and coworkers accountable when they’re responsible for committing or enabling any kind of sexual harassment of another coworker.
Removing the stereotype of what sexual harassment looks like in the public’s imagination and what it legally is can also be critical to understanding that no touching has to be involved for it to occur.
Sexual harassment can look like any of the following and much more:
- Inappropriate and unwanted statements
- Persistent unwanted advances
- Requesting sexual favors
- Unwanted physical contact
- Quid pro quo (offering professional favors for sex-related favors)
- Sexual assault
- Wrongful termination or retaliation for refusing sexual advances
- Gender discrimination
- Hostile work environment
- Failure of employers to prevent sexual misconduct by other employees
- Commenting on someone’s appearance, body, or real or imagined sexual activity
- Displaying offensive photos or drawings
- Using sexual gestures
California law also provides that any sexually harassing conduct doesn’t have to be motivated by sexual desire to be defined as such. Sexual harassment is illegal when it is so often and severe that it creates a hostile environment and the victim is fired or demoted. The harasser can be a supervisor, employer, co-worker, a client or a customer.
We Can Advocate for You
If you’ve endured sexual harassment at work of any kind, the attorneys at Haeggquist & Eck, LLP understand that it’s difficult for you to feel like you can come forward about this issue. Our attorneys, however, can help you hold an employer or coworker accountable for the physical and emotional pain they caused. Doing so now can help someone in the future or others now if you believe there are other victims that a class action lawsuit can identify.
Consult in confidence with a sexual harassment attorney in San Diego who wants to help. At Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, we won’t share the details of your complaint with anyone unless you think it’s time to challenge your employer.
Who Can Be a Victim of Sexual Harassment?
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may disproportionately impact women more than men, but the latter and those who identify as members of the LGBTQ community can just as well become victims of sexual misconduct at work.
Additionally, the harasser can be either a man or a woman, and they may be of the same sex. The harasser may be a supervisor, a different department supervisor in the company, a co-worker, an agent of your employer, or another person associated with the company who is not an employee.
The key component of sexual harassment is the harassing behavior must be unwanted. The victim does not necessarily need to be the individual being harassed. You could be a bystander or co-worker that is affected by the offensive behavior. You can also make a claim for sexual harassment even if you have not suffered economic damages or been fired.
Essentially, anyone can become a victim. Equally so, perpetrators of sexual harassment can be anyone, too.
What To Do If You’ve Been Sexually Harassed at Work
If you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, it is important that you take proper steps to protect your rights, and to help hold your employer accountable.
Document the Harassment: Take notes and keep any evidence, including emails, messages, screenshots, or comments and gestures made towards you. The more evidence you have, the better it will be for your case.
Check Your Workplace Policy: Your company should have a policy in place on what your options are to report the harassment. If you are not sure, check with your HR department or a supervisor.
File a Complaint with Your Employer: Report the incidents to your employer or HR office in writing and verbally. They will investigate the case and take actions to correct or prevent further incidents.
File a Complaint with the EEOC: If your employer fails to take action, file a complaint with the EEOC.
Consult an Attorney: An attorney experienced in handling sexual harassment claims can help you hold an employer accountable and seek remedies on your behalf.
If you have been sexually harassed in your place of work, our San Diego sexual harassment attorneys at Haeggquist & Eck, LLP want to help. Call us today to discuss your options.
What Types of Damages Are Available in California Sexual Harassment Cases?
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, you have experienced emotional suffering. You may have even had a large financial loss. Filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you may be able to receive damages. You may be able to be compensated through:
- Backpay, Benefits, or Financial Damages: This may be received for filling a complaint for unfair retaliation, firing, or missed promotions.
- Future Pay: In some cases, employers are required to rehire employees who have been wrongfully terminated. If this does not happen, damages may include employee’s future pay.
- Pain & Suffering: Even if there were no financial losses, there is recognition for the emotion distress that you experienced during the harassment.
- Punitive Damages: In the state of California, you may receive punititve damages in your sexual harassment lawsuit. This type of compensation is directed towards the employer. With our aggressive and compassionate San Diego sexual harassment attorneys on your side, you may be able to obtain these damages.
Compensation and remedies differ from case to case. We encourage you to give us a call to go over your case, we will provide you with personalized options.
It’s the Employer’s Responsibility
Even if the sexual harassment isn’t coming from a supervisor or someone high up in the company, your employer is responsible for preventing it in the first place. Employers often do this by requiring special trainings or reading materials of newly hired employees and continuing such efforts on an ongoing basis.
If your employer has no such training in place, contact a sexual harassment attorney in San Diego immediately – and especially if you experienced harassment from another coworker. Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is prepared to help you confront the parties responsible and help you reach a settlement that works for you. If no such agreement can be made, our attorneys will fiercely fight for you in court and work fearlessly toward getting you the best possible outcome from a jury.
At Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, we take sexual harassment claims from potential and current clients seriously. Contact us online to receive a free case evaluation from an attorney who can help
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