Sexual Harassment Lawyers in Sacramento

woman filling out sexual harassment complaintIf you are dealing with any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, seriously consider meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal options. A lawyer may be able to help you file a state or federal complaint to hold your employer and the harasser accountable and potentially recover compensation and other remedies for the damages caused by the harassment.

The licensed Sacramento sexual harassment lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm understand how difficult it is to handle this form of harassment. The ongoing emotional toll makes it so much tougher to do your job. We are prepared to aggressively pursue the justice and compensation you deserve, which could include back pay, reinstatement to your previous position and compensation for emotional damages. 

Your consultation with our attorneys is completely free and you will not be charged legal fees unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form right now or call (916) 777-7777.

What is Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Workplace sexual harassment is defined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

The Title VII definition of sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, if this conduct:

  • Explicitly or implicitly affects your employment
  • Causes an unreasonable interference with your work performance
  • Creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment

FEHA has a similar definition for sexual harassment in the workplace. It also prohibits any form of visual sexual harassment. 

Both Title VII and FEHA state that an employer can be held liable for harassment even if the conduct has not been directed at the person who claims to have been harassed. Title VII states that the victim does not have to be the opposite sex of the perpetrator for the behavior to be considered harassment. FEHA says that the sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation does not matter.

Title VII says that the perpetrator can be the victim's supervisor, agent of the employer, supervisor in another area, co-worker or a third party. Harassment can occur even if the victim does not suffer an economic injury or lose his or her job.

If you think you have been a victim of sexual harassment, contact an attorney today for a free legal consultation. A Sacramento sexual harassment lawyer may be able to obtain compensation for you.

Schedule a free legal consultation today by calling (916) 777-7777.

Types of Sexual Harassment

There are two main types of workplace sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo – This occurs when someone, often a supervisor, requests sexual favors in exchange for being hired or promoted. In other words, sexual favors are requested as a condition of employment or advancement at the company. The request for this arrangement can be either express or implied. Sexual favors could include physical acts or submitting to verbal or visual harassment. The harassment does not even have to be sexual in nature; someone could simply make offensive remarks about your sex.
  • Hostile work environment – This type of harassment occurs when you are subjected to unwelcome sexual comments or conduct that is so bad it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Harassment can only rise to that level if it is frequent and severe. California law says that the harassment must be so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of your employment. In some cases, a single act can create a hostile work environment.

It can be difficult to prove either of these forms of harassment, a reason to work with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer in Sacramento. We are experienced Sacramento employment lawyers with specific experience in sexual harassment cases. 

Schedule a free legal consultation with an attorney from the Arnold Law Firm today.

Examples of Sexual Harassment at Work

Our Sacramento sexual harassment attorneys handle cases involving many different types of physical or verbal conduct that fit the definition of sexual harassment under federal or state law. Some examples of workplace sexual harassment include:

  • Flirting with or hitting on a co-worker after he or she asked you to stop
  • Asking a co-worker out after being turned down
  • Sending emails, notes, videos or letters of a sexual nature
  • Making unwelcome comments about someone's physical appearance
  • Making unwelcome sexual jokes
  • Touching oneself in a sexual manner around a co-worker
  • Brushing up against a co-worker
  • Spreading rumors about someone's sex life
  • Giving a neck massage when the person does not want it
  • Using words like babe, honey or girl to refer to an adult
  • Holding workplace events in sexualized locations, like strip clubs
  • Making sexual insults, like calling a woman a slut
  • Hanging up lewd pictures of men or women around the office
  • Making unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature
  • Promising a promotion to a direct report if he or she goes on a date
  • Asking for sex in exchange for career advancement
  • Making derogatory remarks about someone's sexual orientation
  • Staring at someone in a sexually-suggestive manner
  • Asking about a co-worker's relationship
  • Asking a co-worker about his or her sex life if he or she is uncomfortable discussing it
  • Making gestures that are sexually suggestive
  • Stalking, such as calling a co-worker when he or she asked you to stop
  • Whistling at someone

If you have been a victim, you can fight back to stop the harassment, hold the perpetrator accountable, and possibly obtain compensation for financial and emotional damages.

Contact a Sacramento sexual harassment lawyer right now for a free legal consultation.

Conduct that is Not Harassment

Sometimes people have misconceptions about what constitutes sexual harassment under federal and state law. For example, some people mistakenly believe it is against the law to have a consensual sexual relationship with a co-worker. If there is no quid pro quo harassment or unwelcome sexual advances or verbal harassment, this type of relationship does not violate the law.

Offhand comments, teasing or isolated incidents are often not harassment because they are not frequent or severe enough to create a hostile working environment.

Here are some other examples of conduct that usually does not rise to the level of harassment:

  • Flirting when it is consensual and not directed at a third party
  • Compliments that are not sexual in nature, if these are compliments you would normally give to a stranger and you do not have reason to believe the individual would find it objectionable
  • Discussing your sex life with a co-worker if you both are comfortable discussing it

If you ever become uncomfortable with this kind of behavior, you should try telling the person. Sometimes people simply do not realize they are harassing you and will stop if you point it out to them.

However, if the behavior continues even after warning the person, you should consider contacting a sexual harassment lawyer in Sacramento for a free legal consultation. We may be able to file a complaint at the federal or state level to try to resolve the situation. 

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today or call (916) 777-7777.

Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint Under Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That means if you are a victim of any violations of this law, such as sexual harassment in the workplace, you can file a complaint with the EEOC to try to hold the perpetrator accountable and obtain a settlement.

What to Include in the Complaint

All EEOC complaints must include the following information:

  • Name, address, email and telephone number for you and your employer
  • Number of employees at your workplace
  • Short description of the harassment
  • When the discrimination took place
  • Why you believe you were discriminated against
  • Your signature

Deadline for Filing a Claim

Generally, you have 180 days from the date of the harassment to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. This deadline applies to each specific instance of harassment.

However, the deadline for filing a charge is extended to 300 days if there is a state or local agency that enforces a law that prohibits the same type of harassment that is covered by Title VII.

Our Sacramento sexual harassment lawyers can review the specifics of your case to determine if your deadline is 180 or 300 days. We have detailed knowledge of the state and local agencies that enforce laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace.

This is the only situation where the deadline for filing a charge of discrimination will be extended. The deadline will not be moved if you attempt to resolve the dispute with your employer through an internal grievance procedure, arbitration or mediation. You can go through these procedures while going through an EEOC complaint.

Investigating Your Charge

Within 10 days of receiving your complaint, the EEOC will give a notice of charge to your employer and begin an investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the charge is true. The commission will make this determination within 120 days of when you filed the charge. 

An investigation can have a few different outcomes:

  • Dismissal of the charge – If the commission cannot find reasonable cause to believe the charge is true, the case will be dismissed and both parties will be promptly notified.
  • Attempt to eliminate harassment – If the commission finds reasonable cause to believe the charge is true, it will use an informal proceeding to attempt to resolve the situation.
  • Filing a civil action – If the commission cannot secure a conciliation agreement between both parties, the commission may file a civil action against any respondent. This excludes a government, government agency or political subdivision named in the charge.
  • Civil action by the attorney general - If the case involves a government entity or political subdivision, the case will be referred to the attorney general. This individual may bring a civil action against the respondent in district court. You have the right to intervene in this type of civil action.
  • Filing a civil action on your own – If the commission or attorney general does not file a claim or achieve a resolution within 180 days of your charge being filed, the commission will notify you and you have the right to file a civil action within 90 days.

The Sacramento sexual harassment lawyers at our firm can help you draft a complaint and file a civil action if your complaint is unsuccessful. We are prepared to guide you through every step of the legal process, as we pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.

Filing a Complaint Under FEHA

Our attorneys will carefully analyze your situation to determine if it makes more sense to file a claim under state than federal law. We are committed to making the decision that is in your best interest.

You can file a complaint with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing by phone, in person, over the phone or online. Our attorneys will help you collect all of the information you need for this complaint, which is the same as the information you would need for a complaint with the EEOC.

 There is a one-year time limit for filing a discrimination complaint. However, this deadline can be paused if any of the department: 

  • Misleads you about filing obligations
  • Commits errors in processing your complaint
  • Discourages or prevents you from filing anything

Once your complaint is filed, the department will conduct an investigation. The investigation can consist of any of the following:

  • Subpoenas
  • Requests for producing books, records and documents relevant to your claim
  • Written interrogatories
  • Obtaining your complete personnel file

If the investigation reveals that the complaint has merit, the director of the department has the authority to file a civil action to achieve a resolution. However, this can only be done after going through a dispute resolution that is unsuccessful.

If the complaint is dismissed by the department for any reason, or the investigation is ended, the department will promptly notify the victim of the closure and provide reasons why in writing. This written notification serves as a right-to-sue notice. Once you receive this, you are free to file a civil lawsuit to achieve a resolution of your case.

However, you are free to request a right-to-sue notice at any point during the complaint process. For instance, you can request this notice before the department even starts its investigation.

A Sacramento sexual harassment lawyer from our firm can help you throughout every stage of this process.

Contact us today for a free legal consultation. (916) 777-7777

What Remedies are Available for Sexual Harassment?

Our sexual harassment lawyers in Sacramento can pursue various remedies for sexual harassment, depending on the specifics of your claim. These remedies could include:

  • Back pay for earnings lost because of discrimination, including bonuses, commissions, raises, vacation or sick pay, and retirement or pension benefits
  • Future lost earnings, if reinstatement is not possible or practical, to cover the effect of the harassment on future earnings
  • Hiring
  • Reinstatement to your position
  • Legal fees to cover our costs for representing you
  • Emotional distress caused by the harassment, like depression and anxiety
  • Medical and other out-of-pocket expenses caused by the harassment
  • Training at your workplace
  • Policy changes by your employer
  • Promotion

We may also be able to obtain punitive damages, which are designed to deter others from engaging in this type of conduct.

Many of the remedies above may be available in a civil lawsuit as well. Our Sacramento sexual harassment attorneys will evaluate all of the relevant factors in your case to determine appropriate remedies and compensation. This is the law's way of attempting to put you back in the position you were in before the harassment occurred.

Contact the Arnold Law Firm right now a free legal consultation. Complete a Free Case Evaluation form.

Can My Employer Retaliate Over my Complaint?

Federal and state law protect sexual harassment victims from being retaliated against by their employers. Retaliation can include many different actions against people who report harassment or try to help others with their harassment complaints, such as filing an EEOC complaint, resisting sexual advances, or reporting harassment to your employer.

The EEOC lists several examples of retaliatory actions against sexual harassment victims:

  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Giving the employee a negative review on a performance evaluation
  • Transferring the employee to a less desirable position
  • Firing an employee
  • Spreading false rumors
  • Making the person's work more difficult by changing his or her work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities
  • Putting the employee under increased scrutiny

These actions are all illegal, regardless of whether the sexual harassment allegations are true. Unfortunately, many victims are retaliated against for fighting back against harassment and trying to hold perpetrators accountable. If you have experienced retaliation, seek skilled legal representation for your sexual harassment claim.

The trusted Sacramento sexual harassment lawyers at our firm can pursue compensation and other remedies for any retaliation you experience for reporting harassment. This could include various things like reinstatement to your previous position or the cost of mental health counseling for the emotional effects of verbal abuse.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today to schedule your free legal consultation.

Contact a Sacramento Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today

If you suffered any form of sexual harassment, you can fight back by filing a discrimination complaint at the state or federal level. You may also be able to file a sexual harassment lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages caused by your harassment.

The sexual harassment lawyers in Sacramento at our firm have detailed knowledge of the many aspects of these cases, including federal and state laws and the types of compensation we can pursue. We know how to conduct a detailed investigation and collect evidence to build a strong case to try to hold your harasser accountable for breaking the law.

We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so there is no charge for your initial consultation and you will not be charged for our services unless we obtain compensation.

Call the Arnold Law Firm right now for a free legal consultation. (916) 777-7777