Whether you work in a Riverside warehouse, office or restaurant, you expect to go about your day without being sexually harassed. However, sexual harassmentcan happen to anyone anywhere regardless of their gender, age or sexual orientation.
Know that you don’t have to suffer in silence. Sexual harassment is illegal at both the state and federal levels. Please keep reading for more information on what to do if you are being sexually harassed at work. You are not alone and the sexual harassment lawyers at The Dominguez Firm can help. Call us at 800-818-1818 today for a free and completely confidential consultation.
Legally, What is Considered Sexual Harassment?
The EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment.”
- It can involve one or multiple incidents
- Can include comments, unwanted physical contact, gestures, photos, posters, notes, leering, stalking and innuendos
- The person does not have to be directly harassed. For example, they can be subjected to a hostile work environment that has not been remedied by their employer
There are two categories of sexual harassment:
Quid Pro Quo Harassment – Taken from the Latin term “this for that”, this type of harassment happens when a co-worker or supervisor offers favorable work actions in return for sexual favors. It can also be the threat of a negative work action if the employee rejects a request.
Hostile Work Environment – This is when the conduct of one or more employees and/or supervisors creates an intimidating and offensive workplace for anyone working in the area. An example would be openly viewing pornographic images in front of other employees.
The conduct must be unwelcome, severe, offensive to a reasonable person, and widespread.
I’m an Undocumented Immigrant. Can I Still Sue for Sexual Harassment?
Any employee subjected to workplace sexual harassment in Riverside can sue their employer, regardless of their immigration status. Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of workplace sexual harassment. Unethical employers may prey on them because typically, these employees are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.
It doesn’t matter where you work, be it Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino or Orange County, you can sue your employer for sexual harassment without fear of any retaliation. The Golden State takes it one step further: your immigration status can’t be used against you or even brought up during or after your case ends. The employment attorneys at The Dominguez Firm are well aware of this and will make sure your rights are protected at all times. So don’t be afraid to call out sexual harassment or a hostile work environment if you find yourself in this situation.
I Work at a Store in Riverside. A Regular Customer Keeps Sexually Harassing Me. Is There Anything I Can Do?
Employees in California don’t have to tolerate sexual harassment from co-workers, supervisors or owners. They also don’t have to tolerate it from non-employees, legally known as third parties. This can mean:
If you are being sexually harassed by a regular customer, it’s important you notify your human resources department or supervisor immediately. Make them aware of what’s happening so they can take the appropriate steps. Even though the customer isn’t an employee, your employer can still be held responsible if they don’t take action once notified.
What Steps Should I Take If I’m Being Sexually Harassed at Work?
Your first step should be to alert your human resources department regarding any incidents of sexual harassment. Do this in writing. Ideally, do this as soon as possible. As best you can, note:
- All dates and times
- The details of the incident(s)
- The people involved
- Any witnesses to the behavior
If there is no human resources department, you can report it to a supervisor or even the owner. Note that in California, all employers must have a harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy in writing. This is usually included in an employee handbook. It should outline the steps to take, such as who to report the harassment to and how to proceed.
Keep all documents, including your complaint between you and your employer in a safe place. This is vital evidence your lawyer will need to build your case.
It’s normal for sexual harassment victims to fear retaliation. However, it’s very important to take the first step and file a complaint with your employer. If you want any kind of resolution, your employer needs to be made aware of the behavior. And if they do retaliate against you, you have two possible claims, one for sexual harassment and another one for retaliation.
What Compensation Could I be Entitled to If I’m Sexually Harassed on the Job in Riverside?
A sexual harassment claim is filed in civil court. Unlike criminal court, the objective isn’t prison time for the offender. Instead, you are suing to obtain damages (the legal term for financial compensation) for the sexual harassment you suffered. Some of the most common damages include:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Compensation for lost promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the employer’s behavior was particularly severe
- Payment of all attorney’s fees
- Job reinstatement if the employee desires it. This isn’t common; however some government workers are paid and receive a pension based on the number of years they’ve worked.
This is an overview of the most common types of damages. The goal is to make sure you are compensated for your financial and emotional losses.
Call the Riverside Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm
You don’t have to tolerate workplace sexual harassment. The experienced Riverside employment lawyers at The Dominguez Firm have been successfully helping workers take legal action against their employers for over 30 years. This includes favorable settlements and verdicts for permanent, temporary, freelance and seasonal workers. Let us do the same for you.
Call the Riverside sexual harassment attorneys at The Dominguez Firm for a free and confidential consultation at 800-818-1818 today. And as always, we stand by our promise; if there is no recovery, there is no fee!