Unwanted Physical Touching lawyers in San Diego
California and federal employment laws provide many protections for employees, including the right to be free from sexual harassment. Unfortunately, employees continue to experience such sexual harassment in the workplace, and sometimes, it can involve unwanted physical touching.
Never ignore unwanted touching by a coworker or someone else at your work. You might not want to cause drama or earn a reputation as a troublemaker in your workplace, but standing up for your rights to not have others touch you inappropriately is more important.
Never endure unwanted touching at work – take action by seeking advice from unwanted physical touching attorneys in San Diego as soon as possible.
Table of Contents:
- You Have a Right to Not Endure Physical Contact at Work
- What Is Inappropriate Touching at Work?
- How to Manage Unwanted Touching at Work
- Company Responsibility
- What to Do After Unwanted Touching at Work
- Seek the Help You Need From a San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney
You Have a Right to Not Endure Physical Contact at Work
Many employees are unsure of what to do about unwanted touching at work. You might not want the touching to continue, and you might feel that someone violated your rights or personal space. However, you might not want to bring it up out of concern about how your employer might react.
The best thing to do is speak with a San Diego employment attorney who can advise you on the best course of action. The right lawyer can review what happened and handle every step of the process to protect your right to be free from physical touching at work.
What Is Inappropriate Touching at Work?
Certain actions are simply not appropriate in the work environment, as they may be demeaning, humiliating, harassing, or otherwise offensive to the recipient. Some people might not realize their touching is inappropriate, while others intentionally try to make you feel uncomfortable or intimidate you through touching.
Below are two types of inappropriate physical touching at work, and you should never ignore either type.
Types of Unwanted Touching
Other than overt grabbing or pinching of breasts, groin, or buttocks (which most will agree constitute sexual harassment), there are other forms of physical contact that people should avoid at work.
Among other things, unwanted physical contact can involve:
- Kissing (even on the cheek)
- Handshakes held too long
- Linking arms
- Light (or otherwise) slapping of the buttocks
- Hip bumping
- Putting an arm around someone’s shoulders or a hand on their arm
- Holding someone’s hand
- Poking or pointing with a finger
Experiencing any of the above when you don’t want them can be shocking, and you might not know how to react. Try to stay calm and call an employment attorney in San Diego for help.
Never sweep this touching under the rug because you don’t find it as serious as sexual assault. Any unwanted touching should never happen at work, and if it does, you may address the matter head-on instead of dealing with it and remaining uncomfortable at work.
In some situations, unwanted touching goes beyond hugs or pats on the back. Sometimes, it constitutes not only sexual harassment but also the crime of sexual assault, which California law refers to as sexual battery.
Sexual battery involves:
- Touching an intimate part of another person, including their groin, sexual organs, anus, buttocks, or female breast
- Without consent and against the will of the victim
- For sexual arousal or gratification
Imagine that you walk by a coworker’s desk, and they grab your buttocks as you pass without your permission. When you turn around, they wink and smile at you. While they might make light of their actions, this can constitute the criminal offense of sexual battery, and it is a serious matter.
If you report the matter to the authorities, the coworker might be under arrest and might face misdemeanor charges. For more serious offenses, such as touching someone under their clothes against their will, the charges can be for a felony offense.
In addition, working with someone who engages in this type of conduct is not safe – emotionally or physically. You should immediately report this touching to your supervisor or human resources department.
How to Manage Unwanted Touching at Work?
If you are dealing with a coworker who violates your personal space and makes physical contact that you are uncomfortable with, you should calmly ask them to stop. It might be entirely innocent, and once your fellow employee realizes that the touch is unwanted, it may never happen again. Problem solved.
If unwanted touching continues after you have made your wishes clearly known, however, you may need to take the problem to the next level. Call us for advice about how to speak to a manager about it. If talking to a manager or human resources doesn’t work, you may need to involve a San Diego employment attorney to end the unwanted touching.
Is My Company Responsible for Unwanted Touching?
It is the responsibility of a company’s management to maintain an environment where everyone receives respect, and this includes being aware of and honoring each employee’s sensitivities about physical touch.
If you made your preference to avoid physical touching clear, approached your supervisor about the problem, and it did not stop, it may constitute sexual harassment or a hostile working environment in the eyes of the law. If your employer fails to stop sexual harassment, you have the right to take legal action under California employment laws.
Taking action allows you to hold your employer liable for the emotional and physical harm you experienced when they responded inadequately to your complaints. You can seek legal relief, including monetary compensation for lost income or emotional distress, job transfers or reinstatements, and more.
Never hesitate to learn about how you can stand up for your rights following unwanted touching at work.
Laws Against Retaliation
Many people don’t want to report harassment because they fear their employer will take action against them. The good news is that California employment laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their legal rights.
You have the right to complain about behavior that you believe is offensive and against your rights. If your employer engages in unlawful retaliation, a San Diego employment law firm can help you take action to seek relief for both harassment and retaliation.
Retaliation can take many forms and might include:
- Additional harassment at work
- Undesirable transfers or job assignments
- Reduction of hours or shifts
- Refusal of a deserved promotion or pay increase
- Demotion or pay decrease
- Poor performance reviews
- Other disciplinary measures
After you are brave enough to speak out against unacceptable behavior like unwanted touching at work, the last thing you need is to experience an adverse employment action. Speak with a lawyer right away if this happens to you.
What to Do After Unwanted Touching at Work?
If you experience unwanted touching, you should keep track of what happened. Write down or send an email to yourself regarding the time, place, and what happened in detail. If there are multiple occurrences, make a note of all of them. Also, note when you told your coworker that you wanted the touching to stop and if it continued afterward.
Write down every time you complain about the unwanted behavior to your supervisor or HR department. Record those conversations if you can get permission from the other party to the conversation. If not, keep notes of what they said and how your employer stated it would handle the situation for you.
If you suffered sexual assault, you might contact law enforcement and file a report. You especially want to take this step if you fear escalating assault, rape, or other dangerous conduct.
Then, always contact an employment law firm that handles sexual harassment cases. A lawyer can assess your rights and advise you on what next steps might be possible to hold your employer responsible for the violations of your rights.
Seek the Help You Need From a San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney
Act promptly following unwanted touching because state and federal statutes restrict the time you have to file your claim. By waiting too long, you can lose your right to legal remedies for the harassment. It takes courage to discuss traumatizing situations, but telling your story to the right attorney will improve the overall outcome of your situation.
Seek out an employment lawyer who offers a free initial case evaluation and will provide you with the advice and assistance you need in filing your sexual harassment claim. Never wait to protect your legal rights at work. Even if you are unsure of whether you have a claim, it is always worth it to have a compassionate sexual discrimination lawyer evaluate your situation.
Haeggquist & Eck, LLP – Local Office
225 Broadway #2050
San Diego, CA 92101
Ian Pike is a fantastic attorney! He helped me with legal issues that I was having at work with patience and professionalism. He took the time to listen to and address all of my concerns. I am very grateful to have had his help and strongly recommend him. Thanks again for everything! – Sara Keane
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