Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: When to Hire An Attorney

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: When to Hire An Attorney

When a person in any workplace, school, or other social or professional setting makes unwanted comments or advances of a sexual nature toward another person, a victim can have the right to hire a sexual harassment attorney to take appropriate legal action against the other party to hold them accountable for their actions. The Law Office of Jeannette A. Vaccaro understands that harassment takes many forms and occurs in many different settings, including child sexual harassment, government sexual harassment, online sexual harassment, sexual harassment at work, and construction sexual harassment.

When a person is the victim of sexual harassment, it is in their best interests to seek legal representation so they can understand all of their legal rights and how to keep them protected. Our firm is a premier sexual harassment law firm in California, helping numerous sexual harassment and abuse survivors.

How a Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help You

An attorney will be able to guide you through the complicated and emotional process of seeking justice and compensation for sexual harassment. A lawyer can answer many of the questions people have about being a sexual harassment or abuse survivor and begin crafting a civil lawsuit with a solid legal strategy.

An attorney can protect a person’s identity and keep everything they say completely confidential. They will investigate a case and identify a possible defendant, who could be a person who harassed you, although other parties can be vicariously liable in some cases, as an employer can face vicarious liability for a single worker’s wrongdoing. 

A lawyer will help gather all evidence of sexual harassment, including camera footage or eyewitness testimony. After an attorney has the necessary information about a case, they can file the paperwork to initiate a claim in the correct county.  A lawyer can then negotiate with a defendant for maximum compensation for all physical, emotional, and economic losses. 

Defining Sexual Harassment in California

California defines sexual harassment as any inappropriate and unwelcome sexual behaviors, remarks, or physical advances in a workplace or professional setting. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act and other state laws protect employees from covert and overt sexual harassment in the workplace, requiring immediate action against sexual harassers and recourse for survivors. 

California has two main forms of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. The Latin phrase quid pro quo means a favor for a favor, so sexual harassment usually means a person, such as a supervisor offering something in exchange for the completion of a sexual favor or request. 

While a promotion in exchange for a date is one form of quid pro quo sexual harassment, it can also involve a threat, such as a manager telling an employee that the only way they can keep their job is by going on a date. 

Hostile work environment claims involve workplaces in which one employee or multiple employees do not feel safe or comfortable working. It often involves sexual harassment, abuse, innuendos, content, jokes, emails, or discrimination being pervasive enough to make someone feel intimidated, at risk, or unable to perform the duties of the job. 

Determining Sexual Harassment

The initial step of bringing a California sexual harassment claim is identifying that harassment occurred. Certain examples of sexual harassment could be so subtle that it is difficult to determine whether the acts constitute a crime. 

When a person is not sure, they should describe their incident to an experienced California sexual harassment lawyer. Actions that customarily qualify as being sexual harassment include inappropriate touching, hugging, kissing, or invasions of personal space, discrimination due to someone’s gender, sex, or sexual orientation, sharing or sending sexually explicit images or videos, sexually suggestive or romantic notes or emails, sexual questions, suggestions, jokes, or innuendos, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate sexual gestures, facial expressions, or noises, inappropriate comments about appearance or body parts, or spreading sexual rumors about a coworker.

People Who Commit Sexual Harassment

While sexual harassment claims are often perceived to be entirely male supervisors making passes at female employees, the truth is that either gender could be the victim or the perpetrator of sexual harassment. Not all sexual harassment claims necessarily need to involve power imbalances either, as many employees can be victims of sexual harassment committed by people working at the same level.

Sexual Harassment Liability

In many sexual harassment cases in California, people can not only hold offending parties accountable, but also their employers or companies. Employers may be vicariously liable for the actions, crimes, and inappropriate behaviors of their employees while the employees were on the clock. 

An employer can be accountable for sexual harassment against a person when it happens at work, even if a boss is not directly involved. An employer must answer for the crimes and actions of its employees, and an employer can be responsible if it directly contributes to a person’s damages.

Time Limits for Sexual Harassment Claims in California

The passage of Assembly Bill No. 9 (AB 9) increased the time limit on workplace sexual harassment claims. Employees now have three years instead of just a single year to file a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

How Much Is My Sexual Harassment Case Worth?

Many people want to know how much money they could be seeking to recover in these cases, and the answer can be tricky because there is rarely any way to determine a fixed range of possible outcomes. When you hire a sexual harassment lawyer, they will be committed to helping a person recover as much financial compensation as possible. 

Damages in these cases could include all related medical costs, any lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and possibly punitive damages.

Contact Our Sexual Harassment Attorney in San Francisco

If you believe that you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the greater San Francisco area, you will want to be sure that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Law Office of Jeannette A. Vaccaro aggressively represents victims in these cases and knows what must be done to help people get justice and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Our firm will be able to fully investigate your case and help preserve all of the relevant evidence while also exploring all of your legal options. You can contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our San Francisco sexual harassment attorney.

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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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