Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Types of Sexual Harassment at Work
There are two types of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo" harassment and hostile work environment.
"Quid pro quo" harassment, happens when someone conditions a term of employment on submitting to unwanted sexual advances. Some examples include:
- Promising shifts, a raise, or promotion if an employee slept with a manager
- Threatening termination if an employee didn't sleep with a manager
- Requesting sex in exchange for a job
- A boss saying they would make an employee's life a nightmare if they didn't submit to their sexual advances.
Hostile work environment happens when an employee is subjected to unwanted and offensive behavior. This can include:
- Sexually-based commentary, jokes, gestures, images, etc.
- Receiving graphic text messages
- Being shown pornography at work
- Lewd comments about a person's body
- Graphic discussions of other workers' sex lives or preferences
- Kissing, hugging, pinching, rubbing, patting, or any touching without consent
- Whistling, cat-calling, staring a person up and down
- Physically blocking someone's movement
- Using gender or sexual orientation-based slurs
- Gossiping or spreading sexual rumors about someone
These are just examples a few examples of the types of conduct that can lead to a sexual harassment claim at work. If you have experienced inappropriate and offensive behavior at work, contact us today to learn more about filing a claim.
What counts as sexual harassment can depend on the circumstances of your workplace. To confidentially discuss your situation with an experienced employment attorney, call (213) 214-3757 today.
FAQ: Sexual Harassment at Work
Question #1: Is Retaliation Illegal?
First, you should know that your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment. Your employer's policies probably require or encourage you to report the conduct. That aside, it's a good idea to report harassment, if you are comfortable doing it.
Reporting sexual harassment will mean there is record of your complaint. It also shows the employer had notice of the problem and will trigger the employer's duty to investigate and respond appropriately. If you are worried about talking to HR or management, you can call us to confidentially speak with a top–notch sexual harassment attorney about your options.
Question #2: What if I am Not Comfortable Reporting the Harassment?
Some situations are so fraught, and some companies are so indifferent or disorganized, that there is no real option of reporting harassment. Maybe you are being harassed by someone so high up at the company that you have no faith anyone will listen. Maybe there are no formal procedures about reporting harassment and you don't know who to talk to.
We understand. The internal complaint process is not supposed to be a "gotcha" or a trap for the complainant. It's supposed to help fix the problem. But if you have no faith the company will respond appropriately, you should talk to an experienced employment attorney and learn how to document the harassment and raise internal concerns to best protect your claims. We can help you stand up to your employer in this situation.
Question #3: What Happens After You Report Sexual Harassment?
The company is required to conduct a prompt, full, and fair investigation. They must put a stop to the harassment and should appropriately discipline the harasser if wrongdoing is found. Your employer should not punish you for making a complaint. This means you shouldn't be put off work without pay pending investigation. You shouldn't be transferred to an inconvenient worksite or force to take a different work schedule to avoid your harasser. This is retaliation and it is illegal.
Question #4: Can I Record the Harassment?
You should always document harassment as soon as possible after it happens - whether in personal notes, emails to co-workers or supervisors, a notetaking app, etc. Having contemporaneous documentation is always best because memories are imperfect, particularly when you are in a traumatic situation.
Often, our clients ask whether they can record their harasser. You should know that California law requires consent from all parties to record a confidential conversation. If there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, the law prevents you from recording your harasser.
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