Did you know that around 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment? One of the most traumatizing events a person can endure is sexual harassment at work. It’s not just repulsive; it’s illegal.
If you’ve encountered sexual harassment at work, you may wonder if you need to hire a sexual harassment lawyer.
Everyone deals with sexual harassment in different ways; some people may be ready to hire a sexual harassment lawyer after the first offense, and others may decide to wait and see.
There’s no right or wrong way to deal with it. However, there are some things you should consider when hiring sexual harassment lawyers in San Diego.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to consider. If you are ready to hire the best sexual harassment lawyers in San Diego, contact us today.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) defines “sexual harassment” as: “a form of discrimination based on sex/gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Individuals of any gender can be the target of sexual harassment. Unlawful sexual harassment does not have to be motivated by sexual desire. Sexual harassment may involve harassment of a person of the same gender as the harasser, regardless of either person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” (DFEH Sex Harassment Manual, DFEH-185-ENG / December 2018.).
Verbal Sexual Harassment
Verbal sexual harassment is any verbal behavior that is sexual in nature or that creates a hostile work environment. Verbal sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
- Comments about a person’s body.
- Sexual jokes, innuendos, or propositions.
- Asking unnecessary personal questions.
- Telling sexual stories or tales.
- Using sexually explicit language.
- Repeatedly asking someone out on a date.
Non-Verbal Sexual Harassment
Non-verbal sexual harassment is any physical or visual behavior that is sexual in nature or that creates a hostile work environment. Non-verbal sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
- Staring or looking someone up and down.
- Suggestive body movements and facial expressions.
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures.
- Exposing oneself.
- Texting sexually suggestive pictures or comments.
Physical Sexual Contact
Physical sexual harassment is a more direct form of sexual harassment. It involves physical touching that is sexual in nature. Following are some examples:
- Touching, massaging, or stroking someone’s body.
- Grabbing someone’s body.
- Unwanted sexual contact.
Types of Sexual Harassment
There are generally two types of sexual harassment:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment.
- Hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can come from anyone, including your supervisor, a coworker, or even a client. Your employer may be held responsible for the harassment in some instances.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment can come from any employee of a business or organization, from a supervisor to a client.
An example of quid pro quo harassment is an employer that offers to keep a job open for an employee if the employee agrees to a sexual relationship. In quid pro quo sexual harassment, an employee makes a sexual advance or engages in sexual activity in exchange for a promotion, raise, or other job-related benefits.
A victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment may be able to seek damages from their employer, including reinstatement to the original position and back pay.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment does not always come from a supervisor or coworker. Another example of sexual harassment is when a retail store manager continuously asks a female employee out on a date or regularly comments on the attractiveness of an employee. These situations may seem harmless, but they can create a hostile work environment for employees.
How do I know if I Have Been Sexually Harassed in violation of California law?
If you have experienced any of the type of conduct listed above, you may have been unlawfully harassed based on sex. However, your case will likely also depend on additional factors. For example, your ability to prove a claim for unlawful sexual harassment will also depend on whether or not the sexual conduct or comments were sufficiently “severe or pervasive”, meaning whether or not they were frequent enough or intense enough to constitute unlawful harassment. An experienced sexual harassment litigation attorney will be able to ask you the right questions about what happened in order to determine whether or not the harassment you endured constitutes a viable claim for unlawful sexual harassment.
How Should You Handle Sexual Harassment?
The first thing you may want to do is report the incident to your supervisor and Human Resources department. Your employer is required by law to have a policy to handle sexual harassment.
If your employer does not have a policy on sexual harassment, you should contact a sexual harassment lawyer. If you’re being sexually harassed, keep the evidence and record the harassment. This way, if you have to report the incident, you’ll have evidence to support your claim.
A sexual harassment attorney can help you understand your rights and options. Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects people of all ages, races, religions, and genders.
If you’ve been sexually harassed, you should know your legal rights. In most states, sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination and is illegal.
Because sexual harassment is prohibited by law, you may be able to pursue legal action against your harasser and employer, if applicable.
Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
The first step in filing a sexual harassment lawsuit is to report the harassment to your employer. If your employer does not appropriately address the harassment, report it to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) and request your Right-to-Sue.You have to request your Right-to-Sue before you can file your lawsuit. If you’re filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you must be aware of the different time frames to file a claim.
What’s Your Employer’s Responsibility When it Comes to Sexual Harassment?
Although employers are required by law to protect their employees from sexual harassment, many employers fail to put and enforce sexual harassment policies.
If you’re being sexually harassed, you have the right to take legal action against your employer and harasser. Sexual harassment is a serious issue and can have lasting effects. If your supervisor sexually harasses you, then your employer is strictly liable. And, depending on the severity of the harassment, if your employer didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent it from occurring, you may also have the right to sue your employer.
Reasonable Steps to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment From Occurring
To avoid litigation, employers will try to prove they acted in good faith to prevent sexual harassment from occurring by establishing sexual harassment policies, conducting sexual harassment training, and enforcing their policies and sexual harassment training. Sexual harassment cases are complicated and require the help of an experienced sexual harassment attorney.
By identifying the different acts of sexual harassment, understanding the legal definition of sexual harassment, and reporting sexual harassment to your employer, you can avoid a hostile work environment and pursue legal action if necessary.
How Does Sexual Harassment Affect the Workplace?
Sexual harassment can make it difficult for victims to concentrate on work. This can lead to the victim being unable to perform their job duties properly.
What Are the Signs of Sexual Harassment?
There are many signs of sexual harassment. Some signs are obvious, and some are less obvious.
- The victim feels uncomfortable.
- The victim is afraid to speak out.
- The victim is fearful of losing their job.
- The victim has a change in performance or is uncomfortable at work.
- The victim is treated differently than other employees.
- The victim feels stressed and anxious.
Sexual harassment is illegal. If you are being sexually harassed, you have the absolute right to take legal action against your harasser.
If you feel that your employer has failed to protect you from sexual harassment, you should take legal action.
Choosing a Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual harassment is a serious issue that can hurt your mental health and personal life. If you find yourself being sexually harassed, you should know your options.
Sexual harassment lawyers can help you understand your rights and your options and help you pursue legal action against your harasser. There are multiple factors to consider when it’s time to hire a sexual harassment attorney.
Before you hire a sexual harassment attorney, you should find out about their prior results.
A lawyer’s past performance is a strong indicator of how they’ll perform in the future. A lawyer with a history of winning sexual harassment cases is more likely to win yours. Make sure to check their Verdicts and Settlements to know about specifics.
When fighting sexual harassment, you need someone with a lot of experience. An experienced sexual harassment attorney has been through the process before and knows what they’re doing.
You should also find out about the experience of a sexual harassment lawyer’s legal team. A legal team with lots of experience can help you win your case.
Ultimately, you should choose a sexual harassment lawyer who can effectively handle your case and make you feel comfortable.
When looking for a sexual harassment attorney, you should check their testimonials. These personal statements can help you understand what other people think of this lawyer.
If you find testimonials that don’t address sexual harassment specifically, you should ask the lawyer if they’ve handled cases like yours.
The last consideration when hiring a sexual harassment lawyer is the cost of their services. Most sexual harassment lawyers make the client front some or all of the costs. So, make sure you ask about the anticipated costs.
It would help if you considered how much money you can afford to spend on your case.
Some sexual harassment lawyers charge a percentage of the cash payout. That means they get a share of the total amount you are awarded if the case is won. This normally puts less financial stress on the victim.
Make sure to ask your prospective sexual harassment attorney about they get compensated and how costs are handled.
Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Choosing your attorney depends on more than their experience, rates, and prior results.
When you’re reviewing testimonials, also keep an eye out for the qualities they possess. There are a few qualities that you should look for when hiring a sexual harassment lawyer.
A lawyer can win your case while still being compassionate. A sexual harassment attorney who is compassionate will care about your well-being, both during and after your case.
You should hire a sexual harassment attorney who takes a personal approach. A personal approach means that a sexual harassment attorney will talk to you about your case and what you want out of it. They will see the victim of sexual harassment as a human being, not just another law case.
During the sexual harassment lawsuit process, it’s essential to have a good relationship with your lawyer. If you feel that you can trust your sexual harassment lawyer and have a good working relationship with them, you’ll have confidence in their ability to represent you.
You should also be able to easily contact your sexual harassment lawyer. If you call them, you should get a response back in a timely manner. You should feel comfortable discussing your case with your sexual harassment lawyer.
A professional sexual harassment lawyer will take their profession seriously. There are many ways to determine their professional reputation, including testimonials and past clients’ reviews.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney
You should ask a few questions before hiring a sexual harassment lawyer. The answers to these questions will help you determine if they’re the right lawyer for you.
How Long Have You Been Practicing?
You should hire sexual harassment attorneys who have been practicing for a while. You want someone who has been in the business long enough to gain enough experience to win your case.
How Long Does the Lawsuit Process Take?
You want to know how long your sexual harassment lawsuit will take. It’s essential to know how long the sexual harassment lawsuit process takes because you don’t want to be stuck in limbo for months without knowing when it will end.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Harassment Cases
Do you still have more questions about a potential sexual harassment case? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about sexual harassment cases.
Can I Sue for Sexual Harassment if I Haven’t Lost Wages?
Yes, you can sue for sexual harassment if you haven’t lost wages. The damages you can receive in a sexual harassment lawsuit are not limited to lost wages. You can recover compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by sexual harassment. These nonwage loss categories as often referred to as “non-economic” damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment?
The statute of limitations for sexual harassment is the time period a victim has to file a sexual harassment lawsuit. The statute of limitations often depends on the state you live in and your employer.
What if I Saw Harassment, But It Was Not Directed at Me?
You might be able to sue for sexual harassment even if you didn’t experience unwanted sexual advances.
Harassment is not limited to one person. If you saw someone else experience unwanted sexual advances, you may be able to file a sexual harassment lawsuit on that person’s behalf.
What Can I Do if I’ve Been Sexually Harassed?
Sexual harassment is an issue for both men and women at work. If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, it’s vital to know your options.
The first thing you can do is to report the sexual harassment incident to your supervisor and the Human Resources department. If they take no action to resolve the situation, you should contact a sexual harassment attorney.
Can my Sexual Harassment Attorney Ask for a Settlement?
Yes, your sexual harassment attorney can ask for a settlement during mediation. Your attorney can ask for a settlement that includes both compensation and a non-disclosure agreement. A settlement can help end your sexual harassment case and allow you to move on with your life.
Am I Protected from Retaliation?
Yes, you have protection under the law from retaliation. Your employer cannot fire, demote, or discipline you because you filed a sexual harassment lawsuit.
What’s the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome and unsolicited sexual advances. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome touching, inappropriate sexual comments, sexual jokes, or coercion for sexual activity. Sexual assault is a physical, sexual attack, usually involving unwanted contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals.
If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, contact your sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. A sexual harassment attorney can help you navigate the law and get the compensation you deserve for your sexual harassment case.
What If There Are No Witnesses to the Sexual Harassment?
If there are no witnesses to the harassment, your sexual harassment attorney may have a difficult time proving your case.
However, suppose sexual harassment is an ongoing problem, or there have been multiple sexual harassment cases involving the same person. In that case, your sexual harassment attorney may be able to prove your case with other circumstantial evidence.
Can a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Lead to Criminal Charges?
Yes, a sexual harassment lawsuit can lead to criminal charges. If your sexual harassment has involved physical sexual assault, your sexual harassment attorney can file a police report and ask the District Attorney to press charges. If your case is strong, you may be able to pursue both civil and criminal charges.
What Kind of Evidence Should You Keep for Your Case?
Your sexual harassment attorney will advise you to keep all evidence, even if you aren’t sure it is relevant. Save all emails, texts, and voicemails from the harasser.
Save any notes you take during or after a harassing incident. If you’ve made a complaint to your employer or HR, keep any documents that may have been attached to that complaint.
Keep all clothing or other items that contain DNA evidence. Keep your work schedule or calendar. Keep documents that show your daily activities, even if you don’t think they are relevant.
Find a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in San Diego
Sexual harassment is an experience that no one should have to endure. However, if you do experience it, it’s important to know that you will have a lawyer on your side that can help you navigate the legal waters.
Are you looking for a sexual harassment lawyer to help with your case? Contact Hogue and Belong Attorneys at Law in San Diego today for a free consultation.