Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer

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Harassment

Harassment of an employee on the basis of race, age, sex, gender, disability, religion or sexual persuasion is illegal. Despite laws prohibiting these types of harassment, it happens in many California workplaces. You can file a claim with a skilled Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer on your side.

Harassment can take many forms, including subtle comments, inuendo or actions taken using stereotypes or engaging in microaggression abuse. Harassment can include improperly questioning an individual’s identity or protected characteristics.

The experienced Los Angeles employment law and sexual harassment lawyers at the Law Offices of Reisner & King LLP have successfully handled many cases like yours since 1999 — and achieved a recognized record of success in the process.

Have you been harassed on the job for one of these or other reasons in California? Has your work life become so miserable that you are seeking legal representation to protect your rights?

We are here to help. Call us today at 818-981-0901 for a free consultation.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Both are illegal, but they require different forms of evidence to prove.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is an illegal agreement proposed by an employer or supervisor. It can attempt to reward the employee by giving them a promotion or a raise for sexual favors, or it can threaten the employee by suggesting they might be fired or demoted if they do not comply. The exact context surrounding the agreement can be quite loose. It can still be considered sexual harassment if the agreement was only implied instead of explicitly mentioned.

An agreement does not necessarily need to be made for an individual to experience sexual harassment. If the harasser creates an environment for the employee that makes them feel threatened, it is considered a hostile work environment. The actions must have affected the employee’s feeling of safety, so actions that are simply crude or vulgar do not count as sexual harassment if they do not impact the victim.

How Is Sexual Harassment Determined?

In most cases, determining what constitutes sexual harassment involves evaluating how severe the action was, how often it occurred, and other factors.

Severity, or pervasiveness, can play a role in whether an action is considered harassment. Something like leering without physical touch might be less likely to be considered harassment than inappropriate touching. The area where someone is touched can also impact the severity of the harassment. However, the more often an action occurs, the more likely it is to be considered harassment, even if the actions are mild.

Which Actions Can Be Considered Sexual Harassment?


Most actions are not black and white when it comes to sexual harassment, but there are common actions that are sometimes considered harassment, including:

  • Touching: This is one of the most frequent forms of sexual harassment and is often viewed as harsher than words. Unwanted touching increases the likelihood that a sexual harassment case can be considered valid. At the same time, where an employee is touched plays a large role. For example, extended touching of sexual organs is more likely to be considered harassment than a brief graze of the arm or leg.
  • Comments: Some comments, like insults or digs at an employee, can be considered harassment if they happen often and harm the targeted employee. While rude comments happen all the time, they must be targeted toward a person or a group in the workplace based on membership of a protected class (sex, race, etc.). Just because a comment is rude does not necessarily mean it is harassment.
  • Requests: Some requests targeted at employees can make them feel uncomfortable, especially if they happen repeatedly. Asking a coworker on a date one time is usually not considered harassment, but repeated attempts, even after the employee says no, might be. This also applies to more intense requests of a sexual nature, even if they are only implied.
  • Preferential Treatment: If a supervisor or employer is giving employees preferential treatment due to having a sexual relationship with them, it might be considered sexual harassment. This is particularly true if the sexual acts are performed with multiple people. It also applies to employees being unfairly treated if they refuse to have sex with a supervisor or employer.
  • Excessive Staring: Sexually charged stares, or leering, can be difficult to prove as harassment unless they are especially severe and occur over a long period of time. However, the courts have ruled in the past that leering can sometimes be considered sexual harassment.
  • Individual Instances: In most cases, instances of harassment must occur several times in order to be legally considered harassment. However, if one action is particularly egregious, it might be considered harassment, especially if the employee was extremely affected.

Seeking Compensation And Justice For Wronged Employees

Attorneys Adam Reisner and Tessa King will partner with skilled associates to safeguard your interests in the workplace, send a strong message to your employer that harassment will not be tolerated and put this personal crisis behind you in ways that prepare you for a brighter future.

Our concerted efforts along the way will include investigation of your workplace harassment claims, negotiations to win the monetary damages you deserve and aggressive litigation in court on your behalf if necessary.

Did the harassment you were subjected to lead to wrongful termination or retaliation against you for reporting the harassment? Were you singled out for hands-on, visual or audible sexual harassment that diminished you as a human being and made you feel uncomfortable? Did your employer’s lack of action lead to a hostile work environment?

The people who harassed you should not have the last word. We urge you to stand up for yourself and your right to a harmonious work environment free of harassing gestures.

Why Do I Need a Sexual Harassment Attorney?

An attorney can help determine whether you have a sexual harassment claim to help you save time. If it is determined that you might have a case, then they can help you decide what action to take against your employer. They can also help you act quickly to avoid passing the statute of limitations on your case.

If you decide to file a claim against your employer, it is likely that they will attempt to contest it with their own legal team. Responding to this can be less effective without your own lawyer who is experienced in employment law.

How Can I Address Sexual Harassment?

If it is determined that your experiences could be considered sexual harassment, you have multiple options for addressing it. The first step is addressing your concerns with your employer. A company might want to resolve the situation quickly if it means saving them time and money on a costly legal case.

Unfortunately, the employer might not effectively address your claims of sexual harassment or make the situation worse. If this does happen, you can file a complaint at either the state or federal level (most cases are filed at the state level, but there are some exceptions). If you file through California’s Civil Rights Department, they can decide whether to accept or dismiss your claim.

If the CRD decides not to work on your case or if their work does not resolve the situation, they can give you a right-to-sue letter that lets you file a claim against your employer directly. They can reject cases for a wide variety of reasons, so a rejection does not automatically mean that it will not stand up in court.

Employees have several options, but different ones work better for different cases. Working with a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can help determine which option is right for you or what to do next if it feels like you have exhausted all your options.

How Do I Pay for My Case?

Filing a sexual harassment claim can be costly, especially if it goes to court. Fortunately, most cases at the Law Offices of Reisner & King LLP are taken under the contingency fee structure. This structure allows employees to receive the legal help they are entitled to without having to pay anything upfront.

If you receive a settlement for lost wages, damages, or other expenses as a result of a sexual harassment claim, the attorney fees come out of the settlement money after other legal costs, like filing fees, are paid. This means that you can still consult an employment attorney without worrying about the potential costs. For more information on pricing and potential costs, contact us directly.

Retaliation Against Employees Who Report Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, some employers react harshly to sexual harassment allegations. There are legal protections for employees to encourage them to report harassment without fear of losing their jobs. If an employer tries to punish an employee for speaking out against them, it could be considered retaliation, which is illegal under California law. Examples of retaliation include:

  • Termination: This is the most common form of retaliation and can be easier to prove than other forms of retaliation, even if the employer claims that they are firing you for a different reason or are laying you off.
  • Demotion: An employer might not fire you, but they could demote you to a lower position or give you a less desirable workload as a result of filing a sexual harassment claim.
  • Limited Access to Opportunities: It might not seem connected at first, but if an employer is not giving you appropriate access to training or career development resources, it might be connected to retaliation. This is especially true if they are being offered to other employees instead.
  • Performance Reviews: One common tactic employers use when attempting to retaliate against an employee is weaponizing performance reviews. An employee with an outstanding work record might suddenly receive negative performance reviews after they file a sexual harassment claim. This gives the employer more of a justification to fire the employee, even if they don’t explain why the employee’s reviews are so negative.
  • Denial of Promotion: Promotions and raises are denied all the time, but sometimes, it is obvious that a promotion was rejected due to an employee’s claim against their employer, especially if they were more qualified and had a better track record than other employees who were promoted. The important indicator is whether or not the employee was singled out.
  • Change of Conditions: Even if you’re not demoted or fired, a change in expectations might be retaliation. This includes things like extended hours, a change in work sites, or a requirement for the individual to work onsite instead of remotely. A company or department-wide policy that does this for a large group of employees is not usually considered retaliation, which is done to one employee or a small group.

Fortunately, the state attempts to prevent employers from retaliating against their employees. If these actions begin happening after filing a sexual harassment claim, document them for more evidence and review them with an attorney. This evidence can be used in a retaliation claim later, which can lead to increased damages.

In some cases, employees can receive damages or other benefits for retaliation. They might be able to get their old job back, receive a raise if they were unfairly demoted, or could possibly get the employer to pay for their legal fees. An attorney can review evidence of retaliation to see if it could impact the damages you are entitled to in a trial.

Harassed At Work? Our Attorneys Can Help.

Contact the Law Offices of Reisner & King LLP by calling 818-981-0901 or send us an email. Spanish and Armenian language translation services are available upon request.

FAQs

Q: What Are the Two Types of Sexual Harassment?

A: The two kinds of sexual harassment include hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo refers to when an employer asks their subordinate to perform sexual favors for a raise or promotion or to avoid demotion or firing. Hostile work environment refers to when sexual harassment is so severe or frequent that it creates a work environment in which the employee does not feel safe.

Q: Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Harassment Claim in California?

A: Yes, there is a statute of limitations for a sexual harassment claim in California. This is the deadline by which you must file a claim in order for it to be considered valid. In some cases, after filing an initial claim, California’s Civil Rights Department can send a right-to-sue letter if they choose not to file a claim for you. This gives you the right to file a claim, but you must do it within a certain time frame as well.

Q: Is an Employer Liable for Sexual Harassment in California?

A: An employer could be liable for sexual harassment in California. Even if an individual who works for an employer harasses another employee, the company might also be liable, depending on the circumstances. Companies are required to promote a safe work environment for their employees, free from sexual harassment.

This can even apply if the employer did not know that the sexual harassment was taking place in certain cases. For more information on liability and sexual harassment, contact an employment attorney.

Q: What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment in California?

A: In Los Angeles, California, many things could qualify as sexual harassment. The exact requirements for sexual harassment are not necessarily tied to specific actions. Courts generally evaluate whether the actions were severe, how often they occurred, and other contextual factors. While one instance of an action can be determined sexual harassment, the court might reach the opposite conclusion when considering another instance of the same action.

Q: Do Employees Get Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

A: An employee getting fired for reporting sexual harassment is an act of retaliation, which is not allowed under employment law. Other forms of retaliation include demoting an employee, reducing their access to training, denying them a promotion or a raise, and giving them excessively negative performance reviews. If you believe your employer is retaliating against you, speak to an employment attorney to understand your options.

Let the Law Offices of Reisner & King LLP Help You With Your Sexual Harassment Case

Sexual harassment often has serious consequences for victims. Ensure your case is treated with dignity and respect by consulting an attorney for your case. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Reisner & King LLP today for more information.

We Provide The Help Employees Need When They Need It.

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