Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Long Beach, CA

A supervisor, coworker, vendor, or client has no legal right to sexually harass an employee. Many victims of sexual harassment, both men and women, fail to report the incident or seek legal assistance. Ricardo Lopez Law, a California employment law firm, has extensive expertise fighting allegations of sexual harassment and will put their skills to work for you.

Is Sexual Harassment a Crime?

In the context of sexual harassment, any unwanted sexual conduct directed at one employee by another—regardless of gender—is classified as sexual harassment. This includes inappropriate joking, sexual advances, inappropriate touching, requests for sexual favors, and many other forms of sexual harassment. An employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against a victim of sexual harassment under state or federal law.
Harassment is illegal if it is unwanted, severe, or widespread, as defined by federal law. However, under California law, there is no necessity that the behavior be severe or widespread in order to be actionable. It’s possible that sexual harassment can be proven with one incident.

Federal law states that an employer can be held accountable for sexual harassment if he or she was aware of the violation but did nothing to stop it. Employees who create or condone a hostile work environment or engage in sexual harassment are also subject to individual liability under state statutes. However, individuals in California can only be held responsible for unlawful harassment if they “aid and abet” it.
Two forms of sexual harassment are recognized under the law: sexual harassment in exchange for favors and sexual harassment in a hostile work environment.

Our Long Beach employment law attorneys provide legal representation in the following practice areas:

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in California?

Sexual harassment includes more than just unwanted sexual approaches; it can also include unwelcome verbal or physical actions that foster a hostile work environment. Here are a few examples of workplace sexual harassment:

  • Using filthy gifs or pornography when chatting with coworkers;
  • Exchange of obliquely suggestive emails, notes, or letters;
  • Having obscene posters or images of sex on display in the workplace;
  • Discussing sex or making crude remarks at work;
  • The use of obscene sexual gestures or advances;
  • Using rude or sexually provocative language while staring or whistling at someone;
  • Sexually explicit remarks regarding a person’s physical parts, attire, or appearance;
  • Pinching, caressing, patting, brushing up against, or rubbing against another person in an inappropriate manner;
  • Intrusive queries on a person’s sex life and sexual history;
  • Making disparaging remarks about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Examples of sexual harassment are not limited to those listed above. As a general rule, sexual harassment is defined as any behavior or words that create a hostile work environment or interfere with an employee’s ability to perform their job duties.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo occurs when an employee feels compelled to cooperate with harassment in exchange for a promotion, raise in compensation, or the assurance that they will not be terminated, have their pay reduced, or be demoted. Quid pro quo is a colloquial expression that translates as “this for that” and is neither an acceptable nor legal working behavior.

Working in a Hostile Atmosphere

When coworkers, clients, customers, owners, or anybody else in the workplace engage in sexually disparaging or hostile speech or behavior, the work environment becomes hostile. This can lead to employees quitting their jobs or negatively impacting their productivity.

Sexual Harassment Myths

Myth 1. Victims who dress provocatively or conduct promiscuously incite sexual harassment attacks.

A person’s desire to exert dominance over another is the driving force behind both rape and sexual assault. There is no need to wear provocative clothing or engage in promiscuous conduct to attract unwanted sexual attention. No matter how someone appears or behaves, forcing them to participate in non-consensual sexual behavior is still considered sexual assault.

Myth 2: If it happens after drinking or using drugs, it is not sexual misbehavior.

Contrary to popular belief, intoxication and/or drug use is in no way an invitation to engage in sexual behavior.

Myth 3: Only attractive, young women are targeted for sexual harassment attacks.

According to common perception, only young, attractive women are sexually harassed. Sexual assault is a crime of oppression and exploitation often committed by those in positions of authority. Offenders generally target those they regard to be the most vulnerable or those they feel they can exert authority over. Men and boys, as well as people with disabilities, are also victims of sexual assault. Others may avoid reporting an assault because they don’t fit the usual victim’s profile.

Myth 4: Ignoring the unwanted attention will make it go away.

Factual error: It won’t. Ignoring harassers does not work. As research has shown, harassers rarely stop on their own. Such conduct may even be viewed as a kind of approval or encouragement if it is ignored.

As a Victim, What Can You Do?

For those who have been victims of sexual harassment in Long Beach, California, we are here to support you. A lawsuit or a private settlement might be part of this process. You should not put off making a decision. Contact our skilled employment law attorneys in Long Beach at Ricardo Lopez Law, P.C. if you’ve had a problem at work and need legal advice. You’re in good hands when you work with us.

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