San Francisco Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Taking an unparalleled approach for sexual harassment victims of California
Going to work can be an already grueling experience for many. Add to that a hostile work environment and it can be almost unbearable, but not everyone has the luxury of just quitting and walking away. Taylor & Ring wants victims of sexual harassment in San Francisco and across California to know that we will stand with you to hold your harasser accountable. Contact us today to learn more.
What does sexual harassment look like?
There are no rules when it comes to who engages in sexual harassment. The perpetrator may not always stand out as an intimidating figure. He or she can be your supervisor, a supervisor in another department, an agent of your employer, a colleague, a subordinate, or even a non-employee who has reason to interact with you for a business purpose. Victim can be anyone detrimentally affected by the harassment, including bystanders.
Regardless of who perpetrates the sexual harassment, many victims feel like they’re making too much of behavior that makes them uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to know what types of behavior are deemed sexual harassment:
- Physically preventing you from leaving by blocking an exit or making you feel as if you cannot get away
- Making inappropriate comments about your outfit, or your physical appearance
- Intimidation, including threatening your job for turning down sexual advances
- Making sexually explicit gestures or facial expressions
- Starting rumors about your sexual life or orientation
- Touching you without your permission
- Making sexual jokes or innuendoes
- Sending sexually charged emails
- Stalking behavior
Essentially any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened in a sexual manner is classified as sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment victims are varied
Anyone who is a subordinate is at a higher risk for experiencing sexual harassment. Statistics can be surprising. According to the EEOC, out of 10,000 work place sexual harassment claims reported in 2017, male victims made 1,650 of those complaints. The complaints were largely filed against other male coworkers and supervisors for behavior such as:
- Threats of a sexually aggressive nature
- Use of feminine pronouns
- Simulated sex acts
- Sexual taunts
Teenagers are high risk for sexual harassment at work due to their inexperience in handling adult behavior, and vulnerability due to their lack of training, limiting their employment options mostly to the hospitality and retail industries. These industries are rife with incidents of sexual harassment due to balancing high turnover with a need to fill low paying positions to maintain business operations.
The LGBTQIA+ community is also especially vulnerable to sexual harassment. The Guardian reports that “more than two in five LGBT people (42%) said they had experienced colleagues making unwelcome comments or asking unwelcome questions about their sex life. More than a quarter (27%) reported receiving unwelcome verbal sexual advances.” Overall, about 70% of LGBT workers have been sexually harassed in some way.
Your employer’s failure to protect you from sexual harassment can lead to a civil suit
It doesn’t matter how high up in the company a perpetrator’s position ranks, or how close he or she may be to an owner, or someone in management. If you are being sexually harassed and you bring it to your employer’s attention, there is an automatic duty to protect you from such abuse. You have a right to perform your job in an environment free from hostility and unsafe behavior instigated by other employees.
Employees who lodge complaints and witnesses who help in investigations of sexual harassment complaints are protected under the law from retaliatory conduct such as demotion, loss of pay, discharge, or other negative actions that result from making a sexual harassment complaint.
A harasser who is the actual employer or a supervisor can be held strictly liable for payment of the victim’s damages, however, if the perpetrator is a colleague on equal footing, the employer will have liability only if he or she knew or should have known about the behavior and failed to correct it.
Some of the damages a sexual harassment victim could be compensated for are:
- Payment equal to lost compensation from demotion or withholding a promotion
- Punitive damages for egregious behavior
- Lost retirement fund contributions
- Future projected earnings
- Pain and suffering
San Francisco attorneys who fight for employees’ rights
Under California’s statute of limitations, you typically have one year to file a lawsuit for sexual harassment against any state, local, or private employer.
Victims of sexual harassment who work for companies with 15 or more employees, and have been terminated from their employment also have protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act provides employees with 180 days from the date his or her employment is terminated to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Protect yourself and your rights by speaking with a San Francisco sexual harassment attorney who can guide you toward the legal options that will best benefit your particular set of circumstances. No one should have to experience unwanted, aggressive sexual behavior in the work place and understanding the laws that protect you will help you put a stop to the illegal behavior by holding your harasser and employer responsible for refusing to protect you.
If you are being sexually harassed at work:
- Keep a detailed journal of each harassing incident.
- Request a copy of your personnel file.
- Expressly notify your harasser and supervisor that the behavior is unwanted and must stop.
- Report each incident to your human resources department in compliance with company policy. If no policy has been created, provide written notice to your supervisor, department manager, and human resources director of the behavior.
- File a charge with the EEOC at www.eeoc.gov or 1-800-669-4000, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), at www.dfeh.ca.gov or 1-800-8841684.
Failure to make a sexual harassment policy known, uphold it, train management on how to handle complaints, and follow up with a proper investigation may be considered negligent behavior on the part of your employer.
Fighting for San Francisco workers subjected to sexual harassment
At Taylor & Ring, we will help you fight back by bringing a civil suit against your harasser, and anyone who failed to take appropriate action to protect you. Standing up for your rights doesn’t have to feel overwhelming when you have a stellar legal team behind you to show your perpetrator that you’re no longer a victim. To meet with one of our sexual harassment lawyers in San Francisco, call 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.