Long Beach Employment Lawyers
Sexual harassment is a unique type of discrimination at the workplace, which involves unwelcome sexual attention. There are many acts of harassment that are unacceptable at the workplace and this type of abuse can affect an employee emotionally and psychologically.
Anyone who has experienced sexual harassment on the job would be well advised to discuss the circumstances of their case with an experienced Long Beach employment lawyer who can not only help put a stop to the employer’s wrongdoing, but also help the affected employees receive compensation for their mistreatment. Please call 323-238-4683 for a free consultation.
Sexual harassment can be verbal or physical. Examples of acts that may be considered harassment at the workplace include:
- Lewd comments including repeated sexual innuendo, off-color jokes, slurs, lewd language and other types of comments that are sexual in nature.
- Content in letters, notes, faxes or email that is sexually suggestive or abusive
- Making sexual propositions such as offering benefits or raises in exchange for sexual contact or favors.
- Persistent sexual advances or unwanted romantic overtures
- Displaying pornographic pictures or other sexual material in the workplace
- Unwelcome touching such as patting, slapping, massaging, fondling, stroking or tickling
- Coerced sexual intercourse or rape
Women commonly file sexual harassment suits against men, but there are instances of female bosses harassing their male employees as well. All forms of harassment are wrong and should be taken seriously. Businesses that allow this type of behavior or that fosters such a hostile work environment should be held accountable for their wrongdoing.
Sexual Harassment Statistics
- 1,367 sexual harassment cases resulted in a settlement. That means approximately 10.9 percent of all sexual harassment complaints resulted in a settlement between the two parties.
- 1,150, or 9.1 percent of sexual harassment lawsuits resulted in withdrawals with benefits.
- 2,635 or 21 percent of claims resulted in an administrative closure. This type of resolution may involve a failure to locate the charging party, the charging party refused to accept full relief or there was a closure because of the outcome of related litigation.
- Over half of all complaints, 6,658 cases (53 percent) found that the claimant had no reasonable cause.
- $ 52.3 million was obtained through sexual harassment litigation in 2011
Who is the Harasser?
A person does not have to be someone’s boss or supervisor to be guilty of sexual harassment. Anyone with whom the victim has contact with in the workplace can be guilty of sexual harassment. This includes a supervisor, a co-worker or even a client. The victim does not even have to be the person at whom the inappropriate comments are directed. A victim is anyone who finds certain behavior offensive and is therefore affected by the harassment. The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex and the age of the harasser is not relevant. The harasser does not even have to be aware that his or her behavior was offensive to be found at fault.
Hostile Environment and Quid Pro Quo
Sexual harassment cases involving a hostile work environment may include unwelcome conduct of bosses, vendors, customers or anyone else in the company. It may involve threats, advancements or physical altercations. Quid pro quo is commonly referred to as “this for that.” An example of quid pro quo harassment may involve a supervisor offering a promotion in exchange for sexual cooperation or the threat of termination.
Discrimination at the Workplace
There are a number of ways in which an employee can be discriminated against:
- Age Discrimination: The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prevents discriminatory treatment of workers based on their age. Decisions regarding promotions, training opportunities and terminations cannot be based solely on the age of the employee.
- Race Discrimination: It is a tragic reality that race discrimination still takes place in the workplace. A skilled employment lawyer will be needed to prove that an employer made an important workplace decision based on the race of the employee or job applicant.
- Disability Discrimination: There are some jobs in which employers can reasonably say that a disabled applicant could not have performed the tasks required for the position. In many cases, however, an employer simply does not want to hire or promote an individual because of his or her disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California's FEHA protect people with disabilities from adverse employment actions.
- Religious Discrimination: Everyone has a right to choose whatever religion they want to practice. Freedom of religion is a right afforded to every American by the U.S. Constitution. Religion has nothing to do with the workplace, and it should therefore not play a role in any decisions made at the office. Anyone who is discriminated against, insulted, ridiculed or otherwise mistreated because of his or her religion can file a claim under the federal Civil Rights Act or the FEHA.
- Gender Discrimination: No employment decisions must be based on the sex of the applicant or employee. A skilled employment lawyer will have experience fighting against equal pay act discrimination, sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination.
- Pregnancy Discrimination: There are cases in which an employee will let a woman go after learning that she is pregnant. This is a violation of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Anyone who has been ridiculed or insulted because of his or her sexual orientation should discuss his or her rights with an employment attorney. Some employees have to suffer through hostility, harsh judgment or even violence because of their sexual orientation.
Employees are protected under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as by Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act from discrimination based on gender. This protection extends to cases involving sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is when an employee is subject inappropriate comments, unwanted touching or sexual advances. It also includes situations where an employee is threatened with job loss, retaliation or is refused a promotion because he or she declined a supervisor's sexual advances.
Just because California is an at-will state, employers do not have the right to fire an employee based on matters such as race, religion, age, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. If the decision to let the employee go was based on any type of discrimination, then, the employer can be held accountable for wrongful termination.
There are many forms of discrimination that can occur in a Long Beach workplace in addition to harassment. Job applicants are sometimes not given due consideration because of their race. Experienced workers with an excellent track record may not get the promotion they clearly deserve because of their age. A woman may not receive equal pay for her services simply because of her gender. These are all forms of discrimination that are unacceptable at any level in any workplace.
If you believe that your current or former employer has violated your rights or if you have been a victim of sexual harassment, the experienced and knowledgeable Long Beach employment lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please call us at 323-238-4683 or contact us today for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.