San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawyer

No employee or worker should ever have to suffer through sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our San Francisco workplace sexual abuse attorneys are passionate about putting an end to these crimes. We represent victims of workplace sexual abuse, assault and harassment in California and throughout the nation.

If you are a survivor of workplace sexual abuse in the San Francisco Bay Area, the time to take legal action is now. With assistance from our San Francisco sexual abuse attorneys, you can hold your employer accountable and get the justice that you deserve. Call (855) 934-0468 today for your free and confidential case review.

San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Attorney

Why Choose Our San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawyers?

  • John C. Manly has more than 25 years of experience as a sexual abuse plaintiff’s attorney. In that time, our law firm has collected over $2 billion in case results for our clients.
  • Our workplace sexual abuse attorneys have decades of legal experience in this practice area. We are prepared to stand up against any defendant, big or small.
  • We will do what it takes to make sure you are protected and your rights are preserved. We will listen to your concerns and tailor our efforts to achieve your specific case goals.
  • We fight for our clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not charge any attorney’s fees unless we secure a settlement or judgment award for the client.

San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Resources & FAQs

What Is Workplace Sexual Abuse?

The definition of workplace sexual abuse is any sex crime committed against a worker or employee within the scope or course of his or her employment. Sex crimes can take many forms, including rape in California, attempted rape, sexual assault and battery, or sodomy. Workplace sexual abuse can also refer to sexual discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual hazing at work.

According to California Penal Code 243.4, the definition of sexual assault is any person who touches the intimate part of another person against the victim’s will while the victim is unlawfully restrained, when it is done for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse typically refers to an ongoing or consistent pattern of sexual assault or battery rather than a single incident. For example, sexual abuse in the workplace may mean an employer repeatedly taking advantage of an employee sexually with the promise of a promotion or the threat of job termination. Any type of romantic or sexual relationship between an employer and employee is inappropriate and can constitute sexual abuse.

Laws Against Workplace Sexual Abuse in California

California’s primary law against workplace sexual abuse and harassment is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This act defines sexual harassment and lists legal remedies available to victims, such as filing a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This department was created to enforce the act and can take legal action against employers that break this law.

In addition to state laws that are in place to protect employees in California, criminal laws may also apply to San Francisco workplace sexual abuse cases. If someone commits the crime of San Francisco sexual assault or battery in the workplace, California’s criminal laws allow the perpetrator to be prosecuted. If convicted of this crime, the defendant may be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony and punished with fines of up to $10,000 and/or months or years in prison.

Types of Sexual Abuse in the Workplace

Sexual abuse is a broad term that can refer to a long list of illegal actions and behaviors of a sexual nature or that are based on a victim’s sex. Any physical action, verbal communication, gestures or facial expressions, or behaviors toward you that make you feel threatened, intimidated, unwelcome, unsafe or discriminated against may constitute workplace sexual abuse. Examples include:

  • Physical acts of sexual assault, such as sexual touching or rape.
  • Threatening, intimidating or abusive behaviors.
  • Inappropriate touching, fondling, hugging, massaging or squeezing.
  • A coworker or employer asking you for sexual favors.
  • An employer making conditions of your employment dependent on sexual favors.
  • Someone exposing his or her sexual organs or performing sexual acts in the workplace.
  • Sexual hazing rituals that are required of new employees.
  • A workplace culture that encourages sexual bullying.
  • Verbal sexual harassment, including inappropriate jokes or commentary.
  • Sexually offensive or explicit materials being distributed around the office.
  • Unsolicited emails or faxes of a sexual nature.
  • Being targeted or excluded because of your sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or pregnancy (sexual discrimination).

Sexual abuse can affect both men and women. It can be perpetrated by a man against a woman, a woman against a man, or take the form of same-sex sexual abuse. There can also be many different professional dynamics involved. The victim is not always an employee and the perpetrator is not always an employer. Sexual abuse at work may involve a contractor, customer, business partner or third party.

Sexual Harassment vs. Sexual Discrimination

San Francisco sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are two different things under California law. Knowing the difference as an employee can help you understand your rights when you are treated unfairly or unlawfully. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, behaviors, conduct or requests for sexual favors. Harassment does not have to be motivated by sexual desire – it can also be meant to show hostility toward a member of a certain sex. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination.

Sexual discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of an individual based on a protected class – specifically, his or her sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, relationship status, pregnancy, or childbirth and related medical conditions. It can describe an employee being left out, ignored, punished, demoted, penalized or otherwise treated unfairly because of his or her sex. Any adverse employment action – including not getting a job – based on a protected class is sexual discrimination.

Can a Company Be Sued for Sexual Abuse in San Francisco?

Yes, a company or employer can be sued for sexual abuse in California. Company liability can arise in several situations. First, the employer could be held directly liable for sexual abuse if it was negligent. Examples include promoting a hostile work environment or discriminatory workplace culture, failing to respond promptly and appropriately to sexual abuse complaints, or aiding and abetting sexual harassment or abuse.

A company could also be held vicariously liable for the actions of its employees. Vicarious liability requires an employer to speak for its on-duty employees in a legal sense. It is a doctrine that allows a sexual abuse survivor to hold an employer responsible for sex crimes committed by an employee within the scope and course of employment. Even if the employer was not directly involved, it could be held vicariously liable for the crimes or behaviors of an employee.

What to Do if You Are Being Abused At Work

You should never tolerate sexual abuse in the workplace. If you experience sexual abuse, harassment or discrimination, protect yourself and others by taking prompt action. Do not allow fear of retaliation, job termination or not being believed stop you from seeking justice. With help from the attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, you can get the support, resources and tools that you need to take a stand and demand accountability.

Here are the steps that you should take if you are being abused at work in San Francisco:

  1. Protect yourself and get help. If you feel threatened or unsafe, or if the situation is an emergency, call the police right away. Law enforcement may make an arrest or issue protective orders.
  2. Document everything. Create your own record of events by writing down a description of each incident, including the time, date, and the names of everyone involved or present.
  3. File a complaint with your employer. Go to Human Resources and file a written complaint against the perpetrator. California law requires employers to respond promptly to sexual abuse complaints.
  4. Quit or take a leave of absence. Do not subject yourself to any further abuse or harassment if your employer does not remedy the situation in a timely manner.
  5. File a complaint with a state or federal agency. Go to the DFEH and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for further assistance with a workplace sexual abuse case.

The DFEH or EEOC can investigate your workplace and help facilitate a resolution or settlement with your employer. If a settlement cannot be reached, these agencies can take your employer to court on your behalf. Filing a lawsuit with assistance from a workplace sexual abuse attorney is the next step. A lawsuit can help you pursue fair financial compensation and hold your employer accountable.

What if My Sexual Abuse Report to My Employer Was Left Uninvestigated?

All employers in California are required to respond quickly and appropriately to sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination claims. An employer should have systems in place to immediately remedy these issues and protect the victim. These protocols may include temporarily suspending the alleged perpetrator’s employment or allowing the victim to take job-protected leave while the case is being investigated.

An employer should thoroughly investigate the claim and take corrective action, as necessary. This may include implementing better measures to prevent sexual harassment and abuse in the future. If your sexual abuse report was ignored and left uninvestigated by your employer, you can hold your employer liable. Being aware of sexual abuse or assault but not taking any action to stop it can be viewed as your employer aiding and abetting sexual harassment.

Your case does not stop here if your employer has ignored your reports of sexual abuse. The next step is to report the sexual abuse to higher authorities, such as the police, the DFEH and/or the EEOC. These authorities can help you get answers and justice. You should also seek counsel from a workplace sexual abuse attorney in San Francisco to help you file a lawsuit, if appropriate. A lawsuit can help you obtain a fair remedy against your employer.

How Can A San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help Me?

How Can a San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help Me Prove My Case?

Bringing a workplace sexual abuse or harassment case can be difficult on your own. With help from a San Francisco attorney, however, the legal process can be easier and more effective. Your lawyer can provide helpful resources to support your case, such as sexual abuse experts and private investigators. A law firm will have the resources and personnel to work around the clock on your case, collecting evidence and finding ways to prove your claim.

A workplace sexual abuse attorney will also understand the state and federal laws that apply to these cases. Your lawyer can use this knowledge of the law to your advantage, such as to show a judge or jury how your employer breached the duty of care owed to you. An attorney will help you file a civil claim by California’s deadline or statute of limitations and avoid common mistakes that could compromise your ability to recover compensation.

How Is Evidence Collected?

Your workplace sexual abuse case can be won or lost based on the strength of your evidence. The evidence available will depend on the specific circumstances. However, you may be able to strengthen your case by collecting documents and records on your own from the start. You can provide evidence in the form of written descriptions of sexual abuse incidents, a timeline of events, statements from eyewitnesses and copies of complaints you filed with your employer.

If you suffered bodily injuries or psychological harm from workplace sexual abuse, go to a doctor for medical evidence. A doctor or psychiatrist can give you an official diagnosis and treatment plan that can help establish your damages in connection to workplace sexual abuse. If you were raped or sexually assaulted, getting a sexual assault forensic exam in the first five days after the incident can also provide evidence against the perpetrator, including DNA evidence and pictures of injuries.

Contact Our San Francisco Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today

If you have experienced sexual abuse in your workplace, you have rights. We will help you protect them. Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is a premier sexual abuse and assault law firm that always puts our clients first. We will do what is necessary to make you feel seen, heard and supported during this difficult time. Our attorneys will guide you through each step of the legal process as you pursue justice, closure and fair compensation for workplace sexual abuse.

Start with a free and confidential case consultation in San Francisco. Call us at (855) 944-0710 or contact us online today. We look forward to hearing from you.