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Under California law, employers must have a clear policy against sexual harassment in the workplace. If it does occur, they must take immediate steps to put an end to it and take action against the offenders. However, oftentimes, the victims are too traumatized to make the report. They may believe that they might aggravate the situation and make things more difficult for themselves. They may also fear being ostracized by their co-workers or even being fired from their job under some pretext.
However, given that the law is on your side, suffering in silence should not be an option. If you have experienced sexual harassment in your workplace, inform your employer at once. They are legally obliged to act to stop it. If they don’t, you must get in touch with a sexual harassment attorney and discuss your legal options.
When should you talk to an attorney?
You should talk to a sexual harassment attorney if you have experienced any or both of the following:
Quid pro quo harassment: It is quid pro quo harassment if you are experiencing sexual harassment from authority figures and people in higher-up work positions than yours. These can include the CEO, the manager, your supervisor, or your team leader.
Hostile work environment harassment: It is hostile work environment harassment if your co-workers, colleagues, or other company employees are targeting you.
Here are some types of sexual harassment that might require legal redress:
• Making offensive sexual comments about your body or your dressing style.
• Initiating unwanted sexual contact such as brushing against you, embracing you, hugging you, kissing you, or touching you inappropriately.
• Propositioning to you even though you have made it clear you are not interested.
• Pressurizing you constantly to go out with them on a date.
• Trying to force you into accompanying them on a business trip and staying in the same hotel room.
• Discomfiting you by making vulgar innuendos, crude gestures, and jokes about sexual matters.
• Sending you porn or explicit sexual photographs via email or phone.
• Blatantly asking for sexual favors in return for workplace advancement.
• Denying a promotion or a raise because you refused to give in.
• Spreading false rumors to malign your morals and your character.
• Targeting and intimidating you in front of other people.
• Sabotaging your work to make you look incompetent.
• Firing you from your position for rejecting their unwanted advances.
• Threatening you with bodily harm for reporting their harassment.
Such instances of sexual harassment can create such a toxic work environment that the victims can often feel afraid to go to work. The resulting mental distress can affect the quality of their work and also take a toll on their physical health.
It is best not to let things come to this pass. In the first instance of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should stand up for yourself and make it clear to the offender that you will not tolerate such behavior. And you should also report the matter to your supervisor or the HR department, and inform your co-workers, colleagues, and family. You will want witnesses if the issue escalates.
Additionally, you will need evidence, so make sure that you maintain a daily work diary and write and record everything that happens. Save the offending emails, voicemail, messages, and photos. Furthermore, keep accurate work records and copies of work projects to counter attempts at sabotage or accusations of incompetence.
Hiring a sexual harassment attorney
Find a competent and experienced attorney and ask them if they offer a free consultation. That will enable you to find out if you have a case that will stand in court, and it will also let you assess if the attorney is a good fit for you. It is a smart idea to inquire how many of their previous cases they have settled and how many they have taken to court.
If the percentage of the cases settled is higher, it could mean they prefer closing them quickly to get money. They are not overly interested in obtaining justice for their client. Go elsewhere. You want an attorney who is ready to fight for you.
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