Santa Clara Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Attorneys protecting clients in Santa Clara, San Jose, and throughout the Bay Area
All you want to do every day is drive off to career you love, do a good job that gets noticed, work up to a much-deserved promotion, and go home happy and satisfied after a long day. What you never expected was that you would be noticed for something other than your work, or that your boss would hold his or her authority over you in exchange for accepting sexual advances.
Sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors, and other harsh verbal or physical harassment of a sexual tone that happens so often that it makes for a hostile or offensive work environment. It may also involve unfair action being taken against you such as denial of a raise, demotion, or being fired. At Taylor & Ring, we fight on behalf of sexual assault victims in Santa Clara and throughout the Bay Area. Call us to learn more about how we can help.
Who are the victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment?
While loss of employment or demotion is not required, sexual harassment occurs when:
- Either party is male or female
- Both parties are the same gender, or opposite genders
- The harassing party is your supervisor or a supervisor within the company in general, an agent of your employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee
- You are not the target of the harassment, but the harassing conduct affects you in a detrimental way
- The behavior is made known that it’s unwelcome
What does sexual harassment look like?
Sexual harassment comes in any form of communication you can imagine. It can be relayed verbally, in writing, physically, through non-verbal gestures, or by visual cues. Take a look at some of the less obvious signs that you are being sexually harassed:
- Making uncomfortable comments about your attire, relationships, or body;
- Making jokes or innuendoes of a sexual tone;
- Spreading rumors about your personal or sexual life;
- Threatening your job for refusing sexual overtures;
- Blocking your physical movement;
- Inappropriate touching of your clothing;
- Staring at your body;
- Making inappropriate gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature;
- Following you around; and
- Sharing posters, drawings, pictures, or emails of a sexual nature.
Be aware that everyone is at risk for sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is not just experienced by adult women. It can happen to anyone, and it does.
Women are who you typically think of whenever you hear the words “sexual harassment,” and there’s good reason. Since women have entered the work force and have struggled to be treated as equals, men have pushed back in order to maintain power and control. Even today, the gender pay gap, while starting to close, is still a sign that women are not fully accepted as equals. Women currently only earn 79 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, which provides men with an excuse to continue viewing women as subordinates who they can sexually harass to further add insult to injury.
Today, while most sexual harassment is perpetrated by men towards women, some women who have reached positions of power believe turnabout is fair play and sexually harass their male subordinates at work. However, according to the EEOC, in 2017 it was reported that 16.5% of their 10,000 work place sexual harassment claims were filed by men. The vast majority of those harassment charges filed by men, were against – other men. Just some of the behavior exhibited by the aggressors includes “use of feminine pronouns and sexual taunts, to simulated sex acts and threats of a sexually aggressive nature.”
Teenagers are increasingly at risk for being sexually harassed in today’s society where kids are growing up all too fast. Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace. Many teens who have no prior work experience, seek employment in the hospitality and retail industries, which is rife with incidents of sexual harassment and violence. Teenagers are inexperienced with adult situations, as they should be, and can become easy victims of harassment because they may not know that it’s wrong, or even how to report it. According to workplacesrespond.org, 66% of girls and 33% of boys have been sexually harassed at work mostly by co-workers, then supervisors, and finally customers.
There are several signs that your teenager may have been sexually harassed at work. He or she may exhibit a higher level of stress than usual. Your child may be skipping school and/or his or her grades might be slipping. You might notice depression setting in, or other signs of mental health distress. Coworkers of your son or daughter might notice a decrease in his or her productivity, or that he or she might even have quit his or her job. Any combination of these events can signal that your child has been sexually harassed in the workplace.
Bay Area employers have a responsibility to protect their employees
Sexual harassment in the workplace is also against state law under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and federal law under Title VII. Under these laws, retaliation against an employee who has made a complaint about sexual harassment, or who is assisting with an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint, is illegal.
Employers are required by law to take reasonable steps to prevent and handle sexual harassment in their companies. One of these steps includes creating and distributing a company policy that prohibits sexual harassment and informs employees about the process for making an official complaint. Failure to make the policy known, uphold it, train management on how to handle complaints, and follow up with a proper investigation may be considered negligent behavior.
What you can do to protect yourself from sexual harassment while helping your case?
Under the statute of limitations in California, employees typically have one year to file a lawsuit for sexual harassment.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, victims of sexual harassment who have been terminated from their employment have 180 days from the date of discharge to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
If you believe you have been subjected to inappropriate behavior in your workplace, talking with a Santa Clara sexual harassment lawyer who understands the laws in place that are meant to protect you should be your first priority after making sure you are safe.
- Clearly make it known that you do not want the behavior to continue.
- Keep a diary of what happened for each instance of harassment.
- Make an official report under the sexual harassment policy your company provided. If no policy has been provided to you, be sure to inform your supervisor, department manager, and human resources director in writing of what has taken place.
- Request a copy of your personnel file.
- Timely file a complaint with the EEOC at www.eeoc.gov or 1-800-669-4000, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), at dfeh.ca.gov or 1-800-8841684.
Helping sexual harassment victims in Santa Clara and San Jose reclaim their dignity
You have a right to earn a living without being subjected to toxic behavior from anyone your employer places in your path. At Taylor & Ring, we want you to trust that you don’t have to stand up to sexual harassment alone, and we want you to understand that the law is on your side. You should be compensated for the toll sexual harassment has taken on your life. Talk to our Bay Area lawyers today at 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.