Unfortunately, sexual assault in the workplace happens more often than you might think. If you are a survivor of sexual assault in the workplace, it is important that you know that you have rights and that your employer has responsibilities. This behavior is not only against the law, but it is also traumatizing and devastating for anyone who experiences it. When someone crosses this line, you should consider holding them accountable and ensuring that it does not happen to anyone else in the future.
What is workplace sexual assault?
Workplace sexual assault is when an individual at work sexually touches you in any way without your consent. This is a very serious offense that some people may brush off or act like it was simply a joke. However, it is not something that you should ignore. Workplace sexual assault is something that employees in all types of industries and position levels have to worry about. In fact, sexual assault can occur to a janitor, to an executive, a waitress, or a schoolteacher.
To make matters worse, sexual assault is not always committed by coworkers. Instead, it can be committed by customers, supervisors, managers, and clients. From 2018 to 2021, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received almost 30,000 sexual harassment reports, which shows that America has a very serious problem when it comes to sexual misconduct in the workplace.
What are my rights after being sexually assaulted in the workplace in Los Angeles?
Here in California, “Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.”
If you have been sexually assaulted in the workplace, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim against your employer, coworker, or any other individual who committed this senseless act. A Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer from Taylor & Ring is available to listen to your experience, go over your rights, and explain the different types of claims you can pursue based on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
Sometimes, more than one person may share liability for a sexual assault at work. For example, while the perpetrator is of course responsible for the sexual act they committed, your employer may also share liability for not maintaining the workplace, failing to keep you safe and harm-free during work hours, and creating a dangerous environment at work. Depending on what exactly happened, the employer could be found liable if there were no locks on the doors, no security cameras, and no alarms that could have kept the perpetrator off the premises, which would have prevented the sexual act from occurring in the first place.
Employers can also be found liable if they contribute to creating a hostile work environment, which can be by failing to control a supervisor, co-worker, manager, or any other worker who sexually assaults you. When a person is being sexually harassed or assaulted while working, this interferes with their daily duties, operations, and work performance. It also makes them feel scared, intimidated, and nervous, which means that they are working in a hostile work environment.
If any of these situations have happened to you, you have the right to contact a sexual assault attorney right away. We have experience helping clients with all types of sexual assault cases. Therefore, we can help you determine what legal options may be best for you.
What are the responsibilities of your employer?
When sexual assault occurs in the workplace, it is the employer’s responsibility to take action. As a matter of fact, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that no sexual misconduct ever occurs at their company or on the premises. If the employer knows sexual assault or harassment is occurring and fails to take action against the individual who committed the sexual acts, they can be held liable.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act does not allow employers to retaliate against any employees after they file a sexual assault or harassment report. If you have been treated negatively, silenced, or retaliated against for reporting any sexual misconduct at work, the sexual assault lawyers at Taylor & Ring will stand up for you and protect your rights.
Is there a difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault?
There are massive differences between these terms. Sexual harassment is “verbal and physical sexual attention that is unwanted by the victim,” and sexual assault is “actual contact or behavior of a sexual nature without the victim’s consent.”
- Catcalls or talking about a person’s body
- Telling sexual jokes
- Showing sexual pictures
- Asking or talking about a person’s sexuality
- Making up sexual rumors
- Rape or attempted rape
- Sexual battery
- Unwanted sexual or inappropriate touching
- Indecent exposure
- Making sexual threats
Some employers may try to claim that an act of assault or abuse was harassment, and that the harassment was “an unfortunate mistake” or “a one-time thing.” As a survivor, you know what happened to you – and the laws treat these acts differently. Both are compensable in civil suits, and both are illegal – but your options may be different depending on what happened. Talk to us; we can help.
What types of evidence will help me prove sexual assault in the workplace?
When you file a sexual assault report at your workplace or a sexual assault lawsuit against your employer, there is a good chance that you will need to show significant proof. Some of the evidence that may help you achieve this includes:
- Videos or recordings
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Text messages
- Witness statements
At Taylor & Ring, our sexual assault attorneys work endlessly to advocate for clients in the Los Angeles area who have been sexually assaulted or harassed while at work. We know and understand that you need to earn a living, which is why it is important that your work environment is safe and hostile-free. Our team strives to be professionals you can lean on and trust during this dark time. We will stay by your side, answering any of your questions or concerns every step of the way. All you have to do is call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case review to get started whenever you are ready.