Sexual harassment cases can be complex and challenging to raise and handle, as well as potentially traumatic for the injured party. Sexual harassment at work can arise in many different forms such as unwelcome sexual advances, a sexually charged working environment, inappropriate behavior on the part of managers or other employees, and any other explicitly sexual conduct that adversely affects a person’s right to work safely.
While sexual harassment cases are most commonly filed by women, sexual harassment also impacts men and Trans individuals who closely identify with the LGBT community.
Some employees believe they have no recourse because they are afraid of being fired if they complain. In some cases, an employee is harassed by the business owner or a manager who makes salary and termination decisions, which makes it seem even more difficult to stand up to the harasser. The fear of losing a job, being demoted, or being fired can paralyze a person’s ability to put the harassment to an end or complain to management.
There are a number of laws designed to protect you from such unwanted treatment. Our San Diego sexual harassment lawyers will vigorously fight for victims who have been harassed and neglected by their employers. If you have been sexually harassed, forced to work within a hostile work environment or otherwise suffered due to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments within the workplace, Walker Law is here to help.
Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual advance, request for sexual favors or acts, or any other sexually motivated verbal or physical behavior. To be considered sexual harassment, the behavior must have an impact on an individual’s employment, unreasonably interfere with their performance, or create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment. Some examples of workplace sexual harassment include:
Sexual harassment does not have to be only in-person. The use of text messages, social media posts, voicemail, or email can also be forms of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is unfortunately common and can understandably make working conditions extremely unpleasant. Over 13,000 sexual harassment complaints were filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in 2004. As a result of those charges, victims of sexual harassment received over $37,000,000 in compensation.
Although the majority of sexual harassment cases involve men harassing female employees, nearly 15% of those charges were brought about by men, indicating that sexual harassment in the workplace is common for both men and women.
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment free of harassment for all employees. When faced with allegations of workplace harassment, an employer is expected to act quickly and with legitimate actions. Employers in California can be found responsible for workplace harassment, even if they had no knowledge of it and were not at fault.
Employers are expected to implement anti-harassment initiatives and take reasonable steps to correct harassment. While proactive measures such as management training or policies may work in an employer’s favor, actions such as not having a way to report to management, burying any allegations, or protecting harassers with non-disclosure agreements are all evidence against the employer.
In San Diego, employees have various rights to protect themselves from workplace sexual harassment. These rights include the following:
If you surmise that you are being sexually harassed, it is important to understand your specific rights. Some of these will be determined by the specifics of your case. You should contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney for guidance when your rights are being violated.
There are monetary damages that a victim of sexual harassment in a San Diego workplace may be entitled to receive. The damages they may seek can be economic, noneconomic, or punitive.
Listed below are some of the damages incurred by employees dealing with sexual harassment:
Consult with your San Diego Sexual Harassment attorney at Walker Law to verify what economic damages you may be entitled to following the incident in your workplace. The case’s specific circumstances will dictate which damages you are eligible to receive.
Non-economic damage refers to intangible losses more difficult to place a monetary value upon. Possible non-economic damages that you may have sustained are listed below:
Victims of sexual harassment should speak with an experienced lawyer to determine how to quantify their damages best to receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to.
It is possible to seek punitive damages in a sexual harassment case in San Diego. These damages seek to punish the perpetrator and discourage future sexually harassing conduct. Punitive damages are awarded on top of compensatory damages that cover the economic and non-economic compensation the victim is entitled to. These damages seek to punish the perpetrator and discourage future sexually harassing conduct.
These damages serve as a punishment and a deterrent for particularly egregious, intentional, or reckless conduct. The victim is required to demonstrate that the defendant’s employer was aware of their actions and should have taken adequate measures to prevent it. The amount awarded in San Diego will vary depending on the duration of the harassment and the severity of it.
California’s economic cap on punitive damages is typically equal to the compensatory damage award. It is essential to consult with your sexual harassment lawyer in San Diego to determine whether your case has the potential to be awarded punitive damages.
In cases of workplace harassment and a hostile work environment, some forms of recovery include:
An employer that acts maliciously or attempts to cover up workplace harassment can trigger recovery for punitive damages. These penalties are intended to punish the employer for knowingly permitting or endorsing illegal behavior and is reserved for only the most seriously offensive cases.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act used to have a one-year statute of limitations for filing a claim. A dissatisfied employee had one year under FEHA to file a charge with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. An employee had an additional year after receiving a right to sue letter to file an action in court.
In 2019, Assembly Bill (AB) 9 was passed providing three years to file a FEHA complaint to obtain a right to sue letter. Essentially, this means that the statute of limitations for most sexual harassment claims in California is now three years.
Whether you continue to work in a sexually charged or otherwise hostile working environment or have left a job as a result of the same, you have the right under California law to seek recourse.
Walker Law will fight in your corner and do everything in our power to ensure that the situation is redressed and that you are compensated fairly. We understand these cases are often very sensitive in nature and emotional for the victim. Our team takes privacy seriously and will work with you every step of the way to ensure you are comfortable with the way the case is being handled.
We provide a free case evaluation and can help with all sexual harassment claims in the San Diego area, including:
If you believe that you or a family member has been sexually harassed in the workplace, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to act as fast as possible to ensure you have adequate time to file your case. If you need support, assistance, or guidance with any sexual harassment claim in the San Diego area, do not hesitate to contact us.