California Sexual Harassment Attorney
Are You a Victim of Sexual Harassment in California?
When someone at your workplace, school, or other social or professional setting has made unwanted comments or advances of a sexual nature toward you, you have the right to hire a California sexual harassment attorney and take legal action against that party to hold them accountable for their actions. Our lawyers recognize that harassment can take many forms and occur in a wide range of settings including:
- Child sexual harassment
- Government sexual harassment
- Online sexual harassment
- Sexual harassment at work
If you or someone you care about has become a victim of sexual harassment, it is in your best interests to obtain the legal representation of a highly qualified California sexual abuse attorney that is well versed in cases of all the aforementioned scenarios. You will need to understand your legal rights and how to keep them protected throughout your case.
Why Trust Manly, Stewart & Finaldi With Your Sexual Harassment Case?
- We are a premier sexual harassment law firm in the US. We are nationally recognized for representing sexual harassment and abuse survivors.
- We have highly experienced attorneys who have litigated some of the highest-profile sex abuse cases in the country. John C. Manly has over 20 years of experience.
- We know how to strengthen our clients’ cases for top results. Our California sexual harassment attorneys can go up against any defendant at trial, if necessary.
- We practice the utmost care and prudence in client confidentially. Your case can be 100% confidential if desired. We carefully protect our clients’ identities.
How a California Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer can guide you through the complicated and often emotionally challenging process of demanding justice and compensation for sexual harassment in California. Your lawyer will begin by answering the many questions you probably have about being a sexual harassment or abuse survivor. Our attorneys answer calls from clients day and night to discuss state laws and survivors’ rights. Then, your lawyer will use the story you tell about your experience to begin crafting a civil lawsuit with a strong legal strategy.
Your attorney will protect your identity and keep everything you say 100% confidential. He or she will investigate your case and identify the defendant. This could be the individual who harassed you, but in many situations, other parties are also vicariously liable. Workplace sexual abuse, for example, can lead to an employer’s vicarious liability over an individual worker’s wrongdoing. Your California sexual harassment lawyer can also help you gather evidence of sexual harassment, such as camera footage or eyewitness testimony.
Once your lawyer has the necessary information about your case, he or she will file the paperwork to initiate your claim in the correct county. Your lawyer will handle all confusing legal paperwork and red tape on your behalf to file by California’s deadline. Finally, while you focus on healing and moving forward, your lawyer will negotiate with the defendant for maximum compensation for your physical, emotional and economic losses. Your lawyer will use personalized legal strategies and aggressive litigation to optimize the outcome of your sexual harassment case.
What Is Sexual Harassment in California?
The legal definition of sexual harassment in California is any inappropriate and unwelcome sexual behaviors, remarks or physical advances in the workplace or a professional setting. California has some of the most comprehensive laws against sexual harassment in the country. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as other state laws, protect employees from covert and overt sexual harassment in the workplace. It requires immediate action against the sexual harasser and recourse for the survivor. It defines two main forms of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo
The Latin phrase quid pro quo literally translates to something for something. It describes an exchange of some sort; this for that or a favor for a favor. In a sexual harassment context, quid pro quo describes a harasser offering something in exchange for the completion of a sexual favor or request. An example is a manager offering an employee a promotion if she agrees to go on a date with him. It describes an exchange in the workplace in return for sexual favors. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can also take the form of a threat; for example, if a manager tells an employee that the only way she can keep her job is by going on a date. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can be serious enough as a first or isolated offense to make the offender liable.
Hostile Work Environment
The other type of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment. This describes a workplace in which an employee (or multiple employees) do not feel safe or comfortable working. It describes a situation in which sexual harassment, abuse, innuendos, content, jokes, emails or discrimination is pervasive enough to make someone feel intimidated, at risk or unable to perform the duties of the job. Sexual harassment that is persistent or severe enough to create a work environment that would feel offensive or hostile to a reasonable person can make the employer liable.
What Qualifies As Sexual Harassment?
The first step in bringing a California sexual harassment claim is recognizing that harassment has happened. Some examples of sexual harassment are so subtle it can be difficult to determine whether they constitute this crime. If you are not sure, describe the incident to an experienced California sexual harassment lawyer at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for an attorney’s professional opinion. Our initial case reviews are always free of charge and 100% confidential. Many different things could qualify as sexual harassment:
- Inappropriate touching, hugging, kissing, or invasions of personal space
- Discrimination due to someone’s gender, sex, or sexual orientation
- Sharing or sending sexually explicit images or videos
- Sexually suggestive or romantic notes or emails
- Sexual questions, suggestions, jokes, or innuendos
- Requests for sexual favors (quid pro quo)
- Inappropriate sexual gestures, facial expressions, or noises
- Inappropriate comments about appearance or body parts
- Spreading sexual rumors about a coworker
The advance must be unwanted for it to qualify as sexual harassment. While a mere annoyance or isolated event may not qualify as sexual harassment, repeated offenses or severe one-time events will. In a workplace setting, someone’s advances may qualify as sexual harassment if they create a hostile work environment or interfere with your performance at work. Discuss your situation with one of our California sexual harassment attorneys to find out if you are the victim of sexual harassment.
Who Can Commit Sexual Harassment?
Most people picture a male in a position of power, such as a manager or CEO, targeting a female in a lesser position when they hear sexual harassment. While this is a common scenario, it is a misconception that only females can experience sexual harassment and only from male perpetrators. Anyone can commit sexual harassment. Men, women and nonbinary individuals can sexually harass others in the workplace. Survivors can also be all genders. All combinations of harasser/harassed are possible, including male/male, female/female and female/male.
The perpetrator and survivor can have any type of professional relationship. Sexual harassment is often a misuse of power, in which an abuser uses his or her position of authority in the workplace to take advantage of workers beneath him or her. Yet someone at any level within the company could commit sexual harassment. A harasser could be the owner of the company, a supervisor, branch manager, coworker, customer, supplier or contractor. Do not allow a misconception of what sexual harassment looks like prevent you from seeking justice. Contact our sexual harassment attorneys in California right away if you believe you have experienced any type of sexual harassment from anyone at work.
Who Can Be Held Accountable for Sexual Harassment?
In a typical sexual harassment case in California, a survivor can hold not only the offender responsible, but also the employer or company. Employers will be vicariously liable for the actions, crimes and inappropriate behaviors of their employees while the employees are on the clock. Your employer could be accountable for the sexual harassment against you if it happened at work, even if your boss was not directly involved. The employer will have to answer for the crimes and actions of its employees. Your employer could also be responsible if it directly contributed to your damages, such as failing to check new employees’ backgrounds, failing to properly respond to a complaint or retaliating against you for reporting sexual harassment.
Time Limits for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in California
You will have a time limit on when you may bring a civil sexual harassment claim in California. This time limit recently changed in California after the passing of Assembly Bill (AB) No. 9. This law, effective January 1, 2020, increased the time limit on workplace sexual harassment claims. Lawmakers recognized that it often takes time and encouragement for a survivor to come forward with his or her story about sexual violence. Many survivors need more than the previous time limit to understand what happened to them and find the courage to report harassment or abuse. AB 9 grants survivors this time by increasing the statute of limitations in California.
Previously, California’s general personal injury statute of limitations of two years also applied to sexual harassment and abuse cases. Yet survivors would have just six months to one year to first file claims with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). After the passing of AB 9 into law, however, survivors now have three years instead of one year or less from the date of the last alleged violation to file claims with the DFEH. The claimant will then have one year from receiving a right-to-sue notice from the DFEH to file a lawsuit against the harasser.
The new three-year statute of limitations only applies to cases in which the last incident of sexual harassment or abuse took place on or after January 1, 2020. AB 9 states that it does not carry the power to revive lapsed claims. If your case of sexual harassment happened in 2019 or earlier, therefore, you may still have just one year to file a complaint with the California DFEH. Certain cases come with exceptions to the rule, however, so be sure to speak to an experienced California sexual harassment attorney about your unique case.
How Much Is My Sexual Harassment Claim Worth?
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our California sexual harassment lawyers know a civil sexual harassment claim will not solve everything. It will not take back what happened or perhaps ever make you feel comfortable in your workplace again. Yet it can reimburse you for the financial losses you suffered due to the incident, such as lost wages from having to leave your job or the costs of hiring an attorney. The compensatory award your lawyer may be able to secure on your behalf could contain amounts to cover several different types of damages:
- Any related medical costs, including psychological therapy
- Lost past earnings and future capacity to earn
- Physical pain and suffering from assaults or injuries
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish or trauma
- Punitive damages
The award you might be able to receive for your civil sexual harassment claim in California could be more than enough to help you move forward after suffering through this experience. The attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi have obtained high-dollar awards for hundreds of clients over the last 20 years through hard work, dedication, and commitment to client success. Find out what we believe your case could be worth today during a free consultation.
Elements of a Sexual Harassment Case in California
Bringing a sexual harassment claim against someone at work could provide important freedom, peace of mind and security in the workplace. It could penalize the harasser and force your workplace to improve its sexual harassment policies. It could also result in financial compensation for the losses you suffered because of the harassment or abuse. Before you can file a sexual harassment case in California, you must make sure your situation fulfills all four required elements.
- Reasonable care owed. The person who committed sexual harassment against you must have owed you a duty of care at the time. An employer, for instance, would owe you a duty of care to implement anti-harassment protocols at work, while a coworker would owe a duty not to create a hostile work environment.
- Failure to take reasonable care. The defendant must be guilty – based on a preponderance of evidence – of a breach of the duty of care. This breach could describe any type of sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination or assault. Your California sexual harassment attorney can help you gather evidence of sexual harassment, if applicable.
- Causation for the tort claimed. Your lawyer must be able to show a causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the tort, or wrongdoing, you are claiming harmed you. Your damages and losses must be the specific outcome of the defendant’s failure to fulfill a duty of care owed to you.
- Specific damages suffered. The defendant’s actions or behaviors must have inflicted real, compensable damages. These include physical injuries, emotional distress, psychological trauma, medical or therapy costs, and lost wages from time spent away from work (either voluntarily or involuntarily).
You will have grounds to file a sexual harassment claim if you or your lawyer can prove these four elements. A lawyer from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can provide a free, no-obligation and confidential overview of your case in California. We will listen to your story and give you our honest opinion as to whether or not you have the elements to bring a claim for sexual harassment.
Contact a Top-Rated Sexual Harassment Lawyer in California Today
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our seasoned legal team is extensively experienced in cases of sexual harassment and can provide you with the high level of advocacy and guidance you need and deserve. We understand that it can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially when the harasser is in a position of power such as your boss, teacher, or coach. We will confidentially discuss the matter with you and let you know our recommendations to move forward in your case, giving you the advice you need to effectively put an end to the harassment and seek justice for the wrong that has been done.
Our focus and top priority in any case of this nature is to help produce the best results possible and we will employ every available measure to pursue this objective. You do not have to accept this illegal and unethical behavior and we are committed to assisting you in bringing closure, and protecting anyone else that crosses paths with the abuser in the future.
Contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi today for solid legal advice from a skilled California sexual harassment attorney and effective representation in your case. Call (800) 700-8450 to schedule a free, 100% confidential consultation.