California Sexual Harassment Law Firm Helping Employees
The employment and sexual harassment lawyers at Melmed Law Group P.C. fight for our clients’ right to a workplace free from unwanted and offensive sexual harassment. We fight on a contingency basis which means we do not accept payment unless we reach a settlement on your behalf.
We understand that unwanted sexual harassment in the workplace can jeopardize an employee’s emotional and mental well-being.
Expert Sexual Harassment Legal Team Representing Victims In California
Our legal team understands the importance of making sure the harasser doesn’t continue to harass others in the future. California state law protects victims of sexual harassment, and our employment law firm represents victims who are subject to a sexually hostile work environment.
We provide free consultation for those who may be victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment at work, talk to one of our attorneys today to discover how you can recover and move forward.
The Sexual Harassment Employment Lawyers at Melmed Law Group Can Help File a Lawsuit in California for Harassment
Employers can be directly responsible for the actions of supervisors or other managers who act as their agents if the harassment results in tangible employment action (e.g. termination, denial of promotion). They are also responsible for harassment by supervisors and co-workers if they have knowledge of the harassment and fail to take prompt corrective action.
If you are or were an employee, and want to file a claim for sexual harassment, you should first speak to a workplace harassment lawyer to understand your options.
Gender does not matter when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman. An employee victim can be male or female, as can the harasser. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual harassment at the workplace, you can call our office for a free consultation with an employment attorney to learn more about your rights and options.
Our Workplace Employment Lawyers Can Help if Your Employer Retaliates Against You for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
Often, an employee who is sexually harassed at the workplace is afraid to report it for fear of being fired, demoted, or given other adverse treatment.
Remember, California and federal law prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting sexual harassment and other workplace violations. Our workplace harassment lawyers are here to ensure you are protected from all adverse and unlawful treatment, including sexual harassment and retaliation.
If you feel as though you are being retaliated against for filing a sexual harassment claim, or for reporting unlawful sexual harassment, then you need to speak to an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney who can help you evaluate your case.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim?
Before January 1, 2020, the time limitation for an employee or a former employee to bring a claim for sexual harassment under California law was one year. However, the California legislature and Governor Newsom recognized that it often takes time, courage, and support for victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence to feel comfortable making allegations against the perpetrator of their abuse. Some victims need time to process before they fully grasp what has happened to them. Some victims only realize what happened when other victims come forward and a pattern of abusive behavior becomes evident. Some victims immediately know they have been harassed or assaulted, but are not immediately ready to confront their perpetrator. Many victims fear retaliation if they do come forward.
For that reason, in October, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 9 into law. One of the purposes of AB 9 was to allow more time for employees alleging sexual harassment in the workplace to process the incidents before filing a claim, and AB 9 extended the time limitation to file a lawsuit from 1 year to 3 years.
Now that AB 9 has become law, to file a lawsuit for harassment, retaliation or discrimination under California law in court, an employee must first file a charge with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) within three years of the date of the alleged violation. Then, the employee must receive a right-to-sue letter from the DFEH before filing a lawsuit. An employee can receive a right-to-sue by either requesting one from the DFEH, or otherwise, one might be issued after the DFEH investigates an employee’s complaint and decides not to bring a lawsuit against the employer. After receiving the right to sue letter, an employee has 1 year to file her/his lawsuit. AB 9 extends the amount of time that person has to initially file a charge with the DFEH from 1 year to 3 years after the alleged unlawful conduct occurred.
To be clear, the three-year statute of limitations applies to incidents of harassment that took place after AB 9’s effective date of January 1, 2020. However, it is unclear whether AB9 applies retroactively to incidents of harassment prior to January 1, 2020. AB9 specifies that it “shall not be interpreted to revive lapsed claims.” This appears to address claims that arose prior to the effective date of the bill, but for which the prior one-year statute of limitations had already passed, meaning those claims had lapsed if a complaint was not filed with DFEH. Therefore, claims that arose based on incidents the occurred prior to January 1, 2020, may not be covered by AB9, and may still need to be brought within 1 year of the incident. Eventually, this issue will be decided by a California Court, but it is still undecided.
What Is Considered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in California?
You may be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace if you are:
- Subjected to unwelcome sexual advances.
- Subjected to unwelcome requests for sexual favors.
- Subjected to unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature.
- Subjected to unwelcome verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
- Subjected to unwanted or offensive sexual comments.
Under California state law, unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature includes but is not limited to the deliberate, repeated making of unsolicited gestures or comments of a sexual nature, and/or the deliberate and repeated display of offensive sexually graphic materials which is not necessary for business purposes. Suing for sexual harassment in California typically requires the assistance of an experienced employment attorney.
Our California-based legal team understands the distressing impact of sexual harassment in the workplace and are committed to helping victims of workplace sexual harassment by building a strong case for our clients and maximizing available damages. Under the law, types of harassment include unwelcome and offensive sexual advances, unwelcome and offensive comments, and unwelcome and offensive touchings.
Sexual harassment can violate the law if the conduct is objectively hostile or abusive. If you or someone you know is or was subject to a sexually hostile work environment while an employee, then it is important that you speak to an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible. The time to file a sexual harassment lawsuit is very short, and it is important to make sure that you do not lose your right to file a sexual harassment lawsuit because you waited too long. The best course of action is to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know is or was a victim of sexual harassment as an employee in the workplace, reach out to our office for a free consultation with a California workplace sexual harassment lawyer and to learn more about cases brought on behalf of victims of sexual harassment.
In order to file a sexual harassment lawsuit based on unwanted or offensive sexual harassment in the workplace, it is always best to speak to an experienced sexual harassment attorney first to evaluate your options. Our employment law firm offers a free consultation with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer to talk about your case in complete confidentiality. Here are some types of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Unwanted Physical Touching: Unwanted physical touching is typically considered the most obvious type of sexual harassment. Physical touching can be more offensive than mere words or verbal abuse. Therefore, it is more likely that a court will find unlawful sexual harassment has occurred where there is physical touching.
- Requests for Sexual Favors: These types of requests are considered to be verbal forms of sexual harassment, and can sufficient o give rise to a claim.
- Sexually Derogative Comments: Perhaps the most common type of sexual harassment comes as sexually derogatory comments. These comments may be directed toward women in the workplace in general, or they may be directed toward a specific individual. They might be jokes, insults, slurs, or other types of verbal harassment. In California, comments alone, with no physical touching, may be enough to constitute sexual harassment. The comments do not necessarily need to be “derogative,” but if they are sexual in nature, then it is possible that they will give rise to a valid claim for sexual harassment.
- Inappropriate Propositions: Propositions are also relatively common in the workplace. In general, a single request by a co-worker employee to go on a date may not be sufficient to warrant an actionable sexual harassment claim, unless the request is made by a supervisor. There may, however, be a valid claim of sexual harassment if the employee is subjected to repeated unwanted advances by a coworker or if the employee is punished for rejecting a sexual advance.
- Favoritism And Unequal Treatment: California law prohibits sex-based discrimination. In the context of sexual harassment, this kind of discrimination can occur when supervisors reward employees with whom they are having sex or punish those who refuse to have sex with them.
- Unwanted Sexual Advances: Unwanted and offensive sexual advances are prohibited by California law. These sexual advances can be verbal or written, and can even be through email or text message. When unwanted verbal or written sexual advances are repeated, are severe, or are frequent, they may be considered as unlawful sexual harassment.
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment: This type of sexual harassment typically arises when submission to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors is made a condition of employment or the receipt of employment opportunities. For instance, if a manager or supervisor is requesting or demanding sexual favors in exchange for promotions or other favorable treatment, this can be “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. For example, a supervisor tells an employee he will select her for promotion if she goes out with him. Quid pro quo harassment is an unlawful form of sexual harassment.
- Isolated Incidents: Prior to 2019, in hostile work environment cases, isolated incidents of sexually-charged conduct are usually not enough to rise to the level of unlawful sexual harassment. This was true even when the employee experienced several such incidents spread out over multiple years. However, recent laws in California have now made clear that even a single incident is sufficient to create a triable issue regarding the existence of a sexually hostile work environment if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the victim’s work performance, or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
To determine if you have a sexual harassment claim or if you are able to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit, it's best to speak to a sexual harassment lawyer. Our office offers a free 15-minute consultation.
Possible Long Term Consequences and Effects of Being Subject to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
An employee or former employee may find it difficult to communicate about the emotional injuries of sexual harassment/assault. However, that doesn’t make the harm any less real. But with preparation and patience and acceptance, we will:
- Listen to you and learn from you.
- And then we will help you tell your story.
- And then we will do our best to hold the company and the harasser accountable.
The first step to any case is to have a free initial confidential consultation with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer to evaluate your complaints.
Every sexual harassment case results in an emotional loss to the victim. The loss might include mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress.
These are very real losses and can manifest in physical forms of
- Appetite disruption
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks or anxiety
These symptoms are real and can cause serious harm. We want to help you recover.
Free Consultation With A California Workplace Harassment Lawyer
If you or someone you know is or was a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in California, reach out to our law firm at (310) 824-3828 for a free consultation with a sexual harassment lawyer.
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