San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney
We Can Help You Stand Up for Your Rights
Despite many federal and state protections, California employees are still regularly sexually harassed at work. Many employees can be at a loss for how to proceed if they believe they have been the victim of harassment.
At AMartin Law, our team of dedicated sexual harassment attorneys in San Diego can help you. We are prepared to help determine if you have a case, negotiate a fair settlement, and fight for your rights. Attorney Alisa A. Martin has over a decade of experience defending the rights of California workers from wrongful employment practices.
Call our compassionate sexual harassment lawyer today at (619) 268-6585. We offer free consultations and often work on a contingency fee basis.
What Qualifies as Harassment in California?
Workplace sexual harassment is a type of sex-based discrimination. Sexual harassment laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. These laws define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual conduct.
There are two forms of sexual harassment in the workplace: quid pro quo and hostile work environment:
- Quid pro quo harassment is when an employee’s job depends on the submission to unwelcome sexual advances, such as a supervisor saying “you want a future in this company, you’d better have sex with me”
- Hostile environment harassment is when the employee’s work environment is made hostile or abusive by sexual misconduct
There also is gender or sex-based harassment. This type of harassment involves hostile conduct against the employee based on gender issues. This includes a supervisor making hostile comments that “real men aren’t nurses” or “women don’t belong in the workplace.”
Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual misconduct may include:
- Unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
- Verbal conduct, including sexual or inappropriate nicknames, derogatory comments or comments about a person’s body, appearance, or sexual activity
- Non-verbal conduct, including leering looks, offensive gestures or posters, cartoons, pictures, or drawings
- Physical conduct, including sexual assault, blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement
Harassment by Supervisors
In California, if a supervisor harasses an employee, there are grounds for a strict liability claim against the employer. This means that if the employee can prove that the harassment occurred, the company is automatically liable for damages. This is true regardless if the company knew about the harassment or attempted to stop it.
Harassment by Co-Workers or Customers
Employers may also be held liable for harassment by a co-worker, customer or independent contractor. This is true if the employer should have known about the harassment, but failed to immediately stop it.
Employer’s Duties to Prevent Harassment
Employers are required to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment. If harassment does occur, employers must take steps to change the harasser’s behavior. Employers also must take steps to prevent future harassment by others. Such steps include educating employees about harassment issues, including how to report harassment, and implementing disciplinary measures for harassment.
Retaliation for Reporting Harassment
Employers are absolutely prohibited from retaliating against anyone who complains about witnessing or being a victim of sexual harassment.
Damages You Can Recover in a Sexual Harassment Case
Employees that sue under California law may recover damages for:
- Past and future medical
- Psychiatric expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Damages for emotional distress
- Punitive damages
At AMartin Law, our dedicated San Diego sexual harassment lawyer fights for maximum compensation for every client. Many sexual harassment cases can be negotiated during settlement, but we are prepared to go to trial when necessary.