You’ve endured countless days, weeks, or maybe even months of harassment at work. Finally, you decide to make a sexual harassment complaint at work to your human resources department or manager. The sense of relief fades quickly, as you realize that your official complaint has fallen upon deaf ears. No action has been taken against your harasser, and maybe your situation is even worse now.
If you were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, made an official complaint, and no action was taken by your employer, you still have the right to legal recourse. Sexual harassment in the workplace in California is illegal. Your workplace must create an environment free from sexual hostility, offensive behaviors, intimidating actions, harassment, hostility, and assault. Contact V. James DeSimone Law at 310-693-5561 and our experienced employment lawyers will help you with your sexual harassment complaint.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) established legally binding guidelines that specifically define sexual harassment. Harassment can appear in different ways in the workplace, including the following:
Sexual or derogatory comments
Unsolicited touching (i.e. back rubs, hand on a leg, uninvited hugs, “accidental” brushes against your body, etc.)
Unsolicited sexual propositions or discussions
Any “Quid Pro Quo” offer consisting of the implication of receipt of any kind of benefits for sexual favors
Warning or threats to decrease your pay, work hours, or benefits if there is non-compliance with a sexual request
Abrasive, rude, intimidating, bothersome, intimidating, leering, or other gestures or behaviors that seek to impose any kind of sexual overtone to another employee
Discussion of sexual acts or activities either with an employee or around an employee
Retaliatory actions after a harassment complaint is filed, including but not limited to loss of employment or other benefits
Posting or distributing sexually suggestive objects, pictures, etc.
Any intimidating actions such as prohibiting or blocking an employee’s movements
California has a long history of establishing very strict rules regarding discrimination. These three sets of laws make workplace sexual harassment illegal and are the most widely recognized.
If you have already submitted a harassment complaint to your employer, and have received no resolution to your complaint, make sure you have followed these steps. If you feel you can resubmit your harassment complaint with additional evidence or through a different avenue within your company (i.e. human resources department vs. your manager) these steps will help you if you plan to re-file a grievance with your company regarding a sexual harassment complaint in the workplace. Check your employee handbook and make sure you are following the procedures established by your employer to address complaints of sex harassment. It is usually helpful to submit a complaint in writing and always be polite, direct, honest, and professional.
Where should you turn if your sexual harassment claim filed with your employer remains unresolved, or you have received retaliation from your employer for filing a grievance? Your next step after filing an official grievance in your place of employment is to file a complaint with the EEOC or DFEH. Contact an EEOC counselor for free if you are interested in finding out if this option is right for you, or any other resources they may have available to you regarding your workplace sexual harassment claim.
It is very important to note that if you decide to file a claim with the EEOC, you only have 180 calendar days from the date of the sexual harassment to file a claim. Under California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act, you have more time but it is often a good idea to contact a lawyer to get a timely Right to Sue Letter.
California has established the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and also additional legislation under California’s AB 1825 law that makes certain employer responses mandatory regarding sexual harassment claims. Under these laws, an employer is required to respond and answer your sexual harassment complaint at work if you request an investigation. Under California law, employees have the obligation to avoid sexual harassment by making timely complaints and employers have the obligation to take prompt, corrective action to prevent sexual harassment.
If you find that your employer has not responded to your grievance, you may attempt to seek recourse under these laws. Additionally, if you choose to file a charge with the FEHA, it may be automatically “dual-filed” with the EEOC as well.
Contact an Experience California Employment Attorney
If you feel ignored or have been the victim of additional retaliation after you filed a sexual harassment complaint with your employer, you still have the right to recourse and possible compensation for your damages.
Ultimately, your employer has a legal obligation to investigate your valid sexual harassment complaint seriously and thoroughly and take necessary action. Contact V. James DeSimone Law at 310-693-5561 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable employment lawyers, if your case qualifies after speaking with a member of our intake team and/or filling out an intake form.