Both California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act make it illegal for your employer to discriminate against employees based on their gender, which includes sexual harassment.
Generally, there are two categories of sexual harassment:
- “Quid Pro Quo” – quid pro quo occurs when a more senior manager or employee demands that you perform sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, obtaining a job or in exchange for some other workplace benefit.
- “Hostile Work Environment” – This is the more common type of sexual harassment seen in the workplace. Hostile work environment occurs when a supervisor or other employee makes sexually suggestive comments, gestures, advances, pictures, emails, texts, touch or humor that unreasonably interferes with work performance.
An employer can be held liable for failing to prevent this type of behavior, even if it comes from a non-employee customer or independent contractor. Likewise, it is a serious violation of the law for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting instances of sexual harassment, whether it be internal complaints to a manager or human resources or a complaint to an outside authority like the EEOC or DFEH. Therefore, if you are fired for complaining about sexual harassing behavior, you may have an additional claim for wrongful termination.
If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment, it is extremely important that you:
- Document the behavior and keep records such as emails, letters, text messages, etc.
- Contact us to talk with an attorney and explore your rights and options going forward – especially how to initiate your company’s grievance process and be protected from retaliation.
At The Velez Law Firm, PC, our sexual harassment attorneys have extensive experience litigating sexual harassment cases of all types. We offer free and confidential consultations to our clients and work primarily on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay us any attorney’s fees unless and until we achieve a successful resolution of your lawsuit.
Although hostile working environment is often associated with sexual harassment, other protected categories can also form the basis of a valid claim, such as harassment based on race, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or medical condition. As long as the harassing activities, taken as a whole, are severe and pervasive enough to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment, your employer can be held liable for any damages you may have incurred, especially if you have been fired as a result.
The Velez Law Firm Gets Results
$550,000 - Sexual Harassment Settlement
Our clients were several females against a large retail defendant, in which their manager committed sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate touching and unwelcome sexual comments.
$400,000 -Sexual Harassment Settlement
Settlement obtained of behalf of a single female plaintiff against a large pharmacy, in which our client was subjected to sexual harassment amounting to a hostile work environment, in the form of inappropriate sexual comments and unwanted touching.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed, contact The Velez Law Firm, PC to set up a free consultation