With dozens of high-profile reports about sexual harassment circulating in the media every single week, it may seem as if you have become an expert in all aspects of this type of workplace harassment by now.
And if you have experienced sexual harassment yourself, you have probably read tons of articles on the matter and, specifically, how to take legal action and what kind of legal remedies are available to you. But not everything that you have read about sexual harassment in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California is as black-and-white as you may think.
We invited our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney from the JML Law to outline certain things that no one ever told you about this type of workplace harassment.
One of the most common misconceptions about sexual harassment in America is that you may be eligible to receive monetary compensation and file a complaint only if it is your employer, supervisor or co-worker who makes the offense.
But this is far from reality, as California laws recognize sexual harassment and misconduct on the part of non-employees such as customers, clients, contractors, visitors, vendors, and others, too.
Our best sexual harassment attorneys in Los Angeles and all across California explain that if a non-employee’s words or actions have a sexual connotation and create a hostile work environment, interfere with your job duties, or make it uncomfortable or impossible for you to perform your job, you may be entitled to file a sexual harassment claim.
Unwanted sexual advances are not the only form of sexual harassment that is unlawful and prohibited by California laws. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer explains that California laws prohibit unwelcome physical, visual, and verbal sexual harassment.
Some of the examples of physical harassment include inappropriate touching, patting or rubbing against an employee, while verbal sexual harassment may refer to asking sexual questions, making lewd jokes and others. Visual sexual harassment, meanwhile, can be sharing sexually suggestive images or videos such as porn, among other things.
In order to be entitled to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and recover damages you do not necessarily have to be the target of the unlawful offense.
“If you are affected by physical, verbal, or visual sexual harassment that is not directed toward you, your claim may still qualify as an eligible sexual harassment case,” explains our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney. For example, if you were standing near a co-worker who made inappropriate sexual gestures, and it had a negative impact on you or interfered with your success in the workplace, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Even if your employer had nothing to do with the sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment, you may still be able to hold him or her liable for failing to prevent or correct the unlawful or inappropriate behavior.
If your employer failed to take reasonably foreseeable steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace or was aware of the sexual misconduct but failed to react properly, you may be able to file a lawsuit against both the perpetrator and employer.