If you face discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace, then you need to be aware of your full legal rights and how you can assert them. You might have the legal backing to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.
At Alan Burton Newman, PLC, you can join forces with an attorney who is backed by more than four decades of legal excellence and proven results. He has recovered millions of dollars for clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay any legal fees unless Mr. Newman recovers compensation for you. Don’t hesitate to discover how this Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can help you pursue justice.
Sexual harassment may take two forms: hostile environment or "quid pro quo."
A hostile environment is created when the behavior is sexual, severe, and pervasive. Sexual means that the conduct is based upon sex. It does not require that the harasser seeks sexual favors, but only requires that the conduct is sexual in nature. Severe means the conduct is more than just bad manners. For example, a rape is severe whereas complimenting someone on the way they look may be just bad manners. However, even bad manners when repeated enough, may rise to the level of sexual harassment. The more severe the conduct, the less repetitive it has to be. The less severe the conduct, the more repetitive it must be.
Quid pro quo in English means "this for that." This is when the harasser asks for sexual favors in return for some benefit to the victim. Unlike hostile environment, a single instance is sufficient to be legally considered as sexual harassment.
The damages for sexual harassment may include loss of income, emotional distress, medical expenses, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees. The more severe the conduct, the greater the amount of the damages.
For example, Mr. Newman won a verdict for quid pro quo sexual harassment in the amount of $1.125 million for an African-American woman with a felony. This is one of the largest verdicts for a single victim of sexual harassment in California. There have been larger jury verdicts, however, most of them have been overturned by the judge or by the appellate court as excessive. In this case, the boss threatened to tell the employer of the employee's felony conviction unless she would have sex with him. The large verdict was due in part to the employer's human resources policy that even in the case of a rape, the appropriate action would be for the harasser and the victim to sit together in the same room and work it out.
The harasser is obviously liable, or responsible, for their actions. The company will be liable if the harasser acts as a supervisor, or if the company was aware of the harassment but did not protect the employee, and failed to appropriately discipline the harasser. If the employer retaliates against the employee for reporting the conduct, then the employer will be liable for damages, even if the conduct was not sufficient to qualify as sexual harassment under the statute.
The company will also be liable for the conduct of its independent contractors, such as vendors like the security guard service hired to protect the employees. If the employer becomes aware of the independent contractor's conduct and does nothing to prevent it from continuing, the employer will become liable.
Both are laws against sexual harassment in workers' place of employment. Title VI is the federal law. FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) is the California state law. The main difference is that the federal law limits the amount of damages a victim can obtain, whereas the California law does not have these limitations.
Under California Civil Code 91.5, people in a position of trust are liable for sexual harassment, similar to employer/employee relationships under FEHA. These include teachers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, and their employees, as well as schools, hospitals, and law offices.
Under Title IX and California Educational Code §220, the school and university is liable for the sexual harassment of its teachers, professors, coaches and administrators.
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