The state of California has one of the most comprehensive laws against sexual discrimination in the workplace. While many other states rely on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for sexual harassment cases, California has passed the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which prohibits discrimination based on based on marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. To understand how you can use this law you’ll need to reach out to an experienced lawyer, as sexual harassment lawyers are notoriously hard to prove.
For the person subjected to constant sexual harassment in their place of work, the case is crystal clear. They can cite any number of instances when they’ve been humiliated based on their sex or sexual orientation. However, without strong proof your case won’t hold up in court.
Good California sexual harassment lawyers can help you build a good case. The type of proof you need to get depends on the nature of the harassment you’ve experienced.
The most common is verbal harassment, which the perpetrators habitually call ‘innocent fun’. It surely is fun for them, but not for the victim. If your workmates make fun of you because of your sex or sexual orientation, you could try to get that on tape. Any type of remark with a sexual connotation or obscene joke can be used as proof. However, you will need to prove that the behavior was severe enough or pervasive enough to cause mental anguish and affect your work. To build a strong case you’ll need to bring up more than one incident.
If your workmates send you obscene messages of any kind, that’s also a case of sexual harassment.
However, the most severe cases of sexual harassment refer to sexual favors being required of you. It might be just your supervisor or someone from the upper management, typically someone in a position to fire you or deny you a promotion if you do not comply with their request.
Employment lawyers dealing with such cases often advise their clients to put up with the situation just a little more and collect the evidence needed to substantiate their claim.
At the same time, seasoned sexual harassment lawyers will advise you on the best way to go forward. This usually starts with a complaint to your employer. According to the law, an employer needs to have an anti-harassment policy in place and provide training to their employees. Once such a complaint is made, the employer is required to take immediate action to put an end to the sexual harassment and punish those responsible.
Most times, they do. If they don’t, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They usually try to mediate an agreement between the two parts. Most attorneys prefer this option as it’s quicker and less painful than a full trial. However, if they don’t have a choice and the EEOC mediation doesn’t improve your situation, your attorneys will help you file a lawsuit.