No matter your career, it is possible that at some point you may find yourself being subjected to unwelcome sexual advances or other types of sexual harassment. While most people assume sexual harassment happens only to women in the workplace, the fact is men are also sometimes victims of sexual harassment. Yet no matter whether it is a male or female who is the object of this behavior, it is vital everything possible be done to make it come to a stop. While most times simply telling a person to stop will suffice, other instances may call for more drastic measures that may involve legal action. If you are being harassed sexually on the job and believe legal action may be one of your next steps, meet with a California employment attorney to discuss various options.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
In the workplace, there are many acts that can fit the definition of sexual harassment. Some of the most common include offensive jokes, text messages and emails, blatant displays of pornography, unwanted touching by another person, and in some cases actual sexual assault. When any of these acts occur on a regular basis, the result is the creation of a hostile, intimidating, and offensive work environment. Should you be subjected to these or other similar acts that are meant to harass you sexually, do not believe nothing can be done to stop the behavior. Since you as an employee are protected from sexual harassment by state and federal laws including specific parts of the Civil Rights Act, never hesitate to contact an experienced employment lawyer in California to discuss your case and decide how to proceed.
States Laws Stricter than Federal Laws
While you will have plenty of legal protections afforded to you by certain provisions of the Civil Rights Act, it is important to point out that many states, including California, have laws regarding fair employment practices in place to protect employees from sexual harassment. Often much stricter in scope than federal law, these laws can play an important role should you move forward with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Since California is known for having some of the strictest fair employment practices laws in the nation, use them to your advantage by meeting with attorneys from West Coast Employment Lawyers.
Stating the Harassment Must Stop
To have any chance of winning a sexual harassment lawsuit, you must begin by making sure you immediately told your harasser to stop the unwanted sexual attention being directed your way. This must be made very clear to the harasser, since doing so will help you in showing that the person’s actions toward you do indeed fit the legal description of sexual harassment. If you feel comfortable doing this in person, you should do so unless there is a chance the person may become more hostile or aggressive during the confrontation. Should this be the case, make your complaint to your immediate supervisor or another member of management. If you wish, you can also try writing a letter to the person telling them to stop. In this letter, always include as many details as possible regarding what was done or said to you, when and where it happened, and anything else that may be relevant. When writing a letter, always keep a copy for yourself so that you can show this to your employment lawyer during a consultation.
Speaking to Management
While you may feel embarrassed to do so, never hesitate to take your concerns to your immediate supervisor or other high-level individual if necessary. If you do not do this and later on decide to file a sexual harassment lawsuit, chances are you will come out of court a loser. In matters involving sexual harassment on the job, the United States Supreme Court has determined if employees fail to use internal channels within their company to stop sexual harassment, the company may not be held liable in a future lawsuit. Thus, whether your company has a formal complaint procedure already in place or you instead speak to your company’s human resources director or other management personnel, make sure you do so and document any discussions you have along the way. By following the chain of command in these situations, you will have a much better chance later on should legal action be needed.
Should the sexual harassment escalate against you to the point where you need to meet with a experienced California employment attorney, always make sure you have documented everything you possibly could associated with the sexual harassment others have directed at you while on the job. This should include copies of any offensive emails, jokes, or cartoons, as well as any text messages sent to you by your harasser. Also, try to keep a written record of each time a harassing act occurred, noting the date, time, location, what transpired, who was involved, and employees or others who witnessed the harassment take place. Finally, always have copies of your performance evaluations available for your attorney with West Coast Employment Lawyers. This can be very important, since it is possible your employer will attempt to convince others that you are a disgruntled employee with an ax to grind against management. By having as much detailed information as possible, it becomes much harder for your employer to deny the allegations and defeat you in court.
Contacting the EEOC
Before you can initiate a lawsuit in federal court against your employer for sexual harassment, you must first contact either your state fair employment practices agency or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Once you contact the EEOC and speak to an investigator about your case, the agency may or may not decide to look into the allegations further. If it does, an investigation can take several months at a minimum, so be prepared to exercise a great deal of patience. However, if the EEOC conducts an investigation and does not find in your favor, this does not necessarily have to be the end of the road for your legal options. In fact, no matter the EEOC findings, you will still be allowed to file a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer. This can happen once the EEOC provides you with what is known as the “right to sue” letter, which once in your possession gives you the authority to take your case to court.
Don’t Give in to Intimidation
Once your employer is made aware of your complaint to the EEOC and possibly your federal lawsuit later on, they are not allowed by law to make any attempts to intimidate you or retaliate against you. However, that does not always mean they do not attempt this regardless of what the law says. Therefore, never give in to intimidation in these situations. If any acts of retaliation are directed at you by your employer, notify your employment lawyer immediately.
Since your employer will always try to turn your sexual harassment case into one where it is their word against your word, always hire the most experienced and knowledgeable California employment attorney to handle your case. To ensure your rights are protected, schedule an immediate consultation with lawyers from West Coast Employment Lawyers