Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP Answer Common Questions About Workplace Sexual Harassment
LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2020 (Newswire.com) - The attorneys of Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP have decades of experience representing victims of workplace sexual harassment in California. Together, they have answered frequently asked questions about sexual harassment.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, including any visual, verbal or physical actions of a sexual nature. There are two main categories of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo and a hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo is a form of sexual harassment where an employee faces pressure to engage in sexual activity in exchange for preferential treatment, such as promotions or job retention.
A hostile work environment is created when the harassment unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Intimidating or threatening jokes or comments, sexual advances or even isolated incidences of sexual assault (such as unwanted touching or rape) can all create a hostile work environment.
What Are an Employee's Options to File a Sexual Harassment Complaint Against an Employer?
First, an employee should follow his or her employer’s policies and procedures in reporting the harassment to HR, a supervisor or a person in charge. An employer cannot legally retaliate against an employee after he or she has reported the conduct. Does the company have a sexual harassment policy? If so, the employee should read it and act accordingly. An employee's ability to pursue other legal remedies may be negatively affected if he or she fails to report the conduct.
An employee can also file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. California employees can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH"). The DFEH will investigate the matter and inform the employee of his or her rights based on its investigation. Employees may also file claims with the EEOC. But employees do not need to file a claim with both.
An employee may also consult an experienced attorney. A lawyer may advise the employee to get an immediate right-to-sue letter instead of permitting the DFEH to investigate the claim. Once the employee receives a right-to-sue letter, he or she can file a sexual harassment lawsuit against his or her employer.
What If There Were No Witnesses When the Employee Was Sexually Harassed?
In this situation, it is important that the employee have as much documentation as possible to corroborate his or her story. He or she should still follow proper procedure when reporting the complaint, but should submit the formal complaint in writing. If the employer does not have a written policy, then the employee should report it to a supervisor or the Human Resources department.
How Does an Employee Prove That His or Her Employer Engaged in Sexual Harassment?
Several elements must exist to prove that an employer engaged in sexual harassment. An employee must show that the conduct was because of his or her sex, it was unwelcome and it unreasonably interfered with his or her work performance or created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. An employee must also show that it offended him or her and that a reasonable person in the same situation would also find the conduct offensive. Most importantly, an employee must prove that the conduct resulted in actual damages, like lost wages for missing work or emotional or physical distress.
Source: Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP