Over the past few weeks, more than 1.7 million women from 85 different countries have shared their stories about sexual harassment. The stories are mostly in response to similar accusations that were made against Harvey Weinstein. To date, more than 50 Hollywood starlets and insiders have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and/or assault. Many of these women worked for Weinstein at the time of these incidents. These claims have made it very clear that sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem.
Victims of harassment in the workplace should know that they have a voice. Sexual harassment lawsuits can be a powerful tool for victims in San Jose. These lawsuits can help to compensate you for the injuries and harms you have suffered as a result of your workplace harassment. Contact the San Jose sexual harassment attorneys at the Briski Law Firm for more information.
Understanding Sexual Harassment
What is sexual harassment? In California, sexual harassment can occur in one of two ways. The first is “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. The second is “hostile work environment” sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a condition of your employment is based on a sexual favor, advance, or activity. This type of sexual harassment can involve threats or promises. Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include:
- Your supervisor offers you a raise if you sleep with him.
- Your employer threatens to fire you if you do not give into sexual demands.
- You fear that you will not get a promotion if you do not go on a date with your supervisor.
- Your supervisor suggests that you shower together and hints that agreeing will help you at work.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment can be direct or implied. If your employment, or conditions of your employment, are tied to sexual promises or threats, you are the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment. One incident of quid pro quo sexual harassment is generally enough to warrant a lawsuit.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment does not have to involve unwanted sexual advances. Instead, a sexual harassment occurs when an employer makes your work environment hostile because of your sex. In fact, the sexual harassment can even be directed at someone else. The fact that the harassment is based on sex and makes the workplace hostile are key. Here, sexual harassment is so constant and pervasive that it “disrupts the tranquility in the workplace” and:
- Prevents you from performing your job as usual, or
- Undermines your personal sense of well-being.
Examples of hostile work environment sexual harassment include:
- Unwanted touching;
- Inappropriate sexual innuendos;
- Offensive gender-related language;
- Sexually-oriented jokes;
- Staring at and/or objectifying another’s body.
In most cases, you will have to show that sexual harassment is a regular occurrence. One instance of sexual harassment may not be enough to prove that your workplace environment is hostile. However, if the harassment is serious enough, one incident could be sufficient.
Employers Cannot Retaliate Against you For Speaking Out
Many of the women who have shared their stories recently are doing so because more powerful women have opened up about their own lives. Sexual harassment in the workplace is all too common. However, victims are often hesitant to share their own experiences. Many times, this stems from a fear of retaliation. If a victim of sexual harassment speaks out, he or she may feel that their employer will react badly.
In California, employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against employees who voice accusations of sexual harassment. Your employer cannot fire, demote, or penalize you for bringing up a claim of sexual harassment. Retaliation can include:
- Changing work assignments
- Reduction in pay
- Failing to communicate with you
- Making you the subject of gossip
- Excluding you from groups, and other negative acts.
Speak With An Attorney If You Have Been the Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem. Victims should not be afraid to come forward and speak out about their experiences. If you have been harmed because of sexual harassment at work you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. A lawsuit can help you to recover damages for lost wages, reduced earnings, pain and suffering, and other harms you have suffered.
You have a limited amount of time to file a sexual harassment lawsuit in San Jose. Contact our experienced sexual harassment attorneys today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, answer any questions you have, and explain your legal rights.