Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney

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Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney

Sexual harassment is one of many forms of gender discrimination prohibited under California employment laws. In its most obvious forms, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal behaviors of a sexual nature in which an individual’s employment is at risk if they do not comply with the unwelcome conduct. However, it can also include more subtle behaviors based on gender that unreasonably inhibit an individual’s work performance or promote a hostile work environment, even if these actions are not sexual in nature. State laws regarding discrimination apply to all employers with a minimum of five employees within California, and harassment is prohibited in all workplaces.

If you suspect you have been the subject of workplace sexual harassment, you may have legal recourse. To receive a confidential, no-obligation consultation from an experienced discrimination attorney at the Law Office of Jeannette A. Vaccaro, contact us today.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Workplace sexual harassment generally falls into two categories – quid-pro-quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Quid-pro-quo is Latin for “this for that” and describes situations where an employee is offered a reward in exchange for sexual favor or threatened with negative action if they don’t comply. This behavior is usually, but not always, directed at an employee by a manager or someone with supervisory authority over the employee. The creation of a hostile work environment, on the other hand, is harassment which has a negative impact on the victim employee’s working conditions or ability to perform the employee’s job duties.

Generally, sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination involving prohibited behavior that is unwanted and results in harm to the person being harassed. Some examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
  • Being touched in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Inappropriate communications including letters, notes, emails, texts, and phone calls
  • The sharing of explicit photos or videos
  • The spreading of sexually-charged rumors
  • Gender-based remarks, which may or may not be sexual in nature
  • Inappropriate sexual gestures, jokes, or implications
  • Retaliation for ending or refusing a sexual or romantic relationship
  • Unwanted gifts of a sexual or romantic nature
  • Sexual demands with words or actions
  • Off-color jokes or offensive nicknames

Some forms of harassment are clearer than others, and the following can all be true of workplace sexual harassment in California:

  • The victim or the perpetrator may be of any gender and doesn’t have to be of the opposite sex
  • The offender can be a direct supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or even a non-employee like a client or a customer
  • The victim could be anyone impacted by the offensive conduct, not just the person it was directed towards—for example, a co-worker who witnessed the behavior
  • Sexual harassment can occur without economic harm to or firing of the victim

How to Handle Workplace Harassment

It is important to take steps to document and address workplace harassment as soon as it starts. If you are a victim of harassment, it may be helpful to take these first steps to attempt to resolve the problem:

  • Make a record by putting things in writing
  • Request the person to stop—tell them that their actions make you uncomfortable and violate your rights to a harassment-free workplace
  • Maintain a detailed record of all events that you perceive as harassment—both verbal and non-verbal, as well as emails or other communications
  • Inform your supervisor and Human Resources that you believe you are being harassed in writing and ask for them to start an investigation into the harassment
  • Contact an experienced workplace harassment attorney

While many employees hesitate to inform their supervisor or Human Resources, doing so allows the company or organization to perform their own investigation into the behaviors and also serves to cement the employee’s formal complaint. If the company doesn’t take corrective action or the harassing behavior continues anyway, the victim may have additional claims against the employer for failing to prevent the harassment. Note that an employer will only be liable for harassment that it knew or should have known was occurring when the harasser is not a manager or supervisor.

A company is also required to ensure that the victim of harassment doesn’t face retaliation in response to reporting the inappropriate behaviors.

Finally, those alleging workplace harassment should seek the help of a skilled and knowledgeable Oakland sexual harassment lawyer who will be able to draft and collect the necessary documentation and evidence, notify the right authorities, and present a robust case to obtain monetary compensation for harassing conduct when appropriate.

Speak with an Oakland Sexual Harassment Attorney

At the Law Office of Jeannette A. Vaccaro, our knowledgeable San Francisco employment attorney has vast experience investigating, preparing, and litigating workplace sexual harassment claims. We are known for providing compassionate advocacy for victims of workplace harassment. We are dedicated to stopping sexual harassment and pursuing total compensation for our clients. To determine if you might be eligible for legal recourse through a sexual harassment lawsuit, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Think You May
Have A Case?

Jeannette is passionate about employee rights. She fights to shed light on injustices and to help her clients move beyond troubling times. Contact Jeannette today for a free case evaluation.

Jeannette A. Vaccaro is a Passionate and zealous advocate, representing employees in all facets of employment law.

Think You May Have A Case?

Jeannette is passionate about employee rights. She fights to shed light on injustices and to help her clients move beyond troubling times. Contact Jeannette today for a free case evaluation.

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