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San Diego Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorney

Workplace sexual harassment can happen to anyone, and its impacts are far-reaching. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, you may be entitled to significant compensation. However, navigating the legal system can be complex. An experienced San Diego sexual harassment lawyer can help you understand your rights and build a strong case.

Reach out to us at Hamparyan Law Firm. In the last 20+ years, we have been representing Californians who’ve suffered from the actions of others. With our competence, resources, and tenacious representation, we’ll fight to get you compensated under civil law and achieve a form of justice for sexual harassment. Your consultation is free and confidential. Call Hamparyan today at (619) 550-1355.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

The legal definition of workplace sexual harassment encompasses a wide variety of inappropriate behaviors. Sexual harassment is illegal. Under federal and California state law, it includes:

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

This occurs when someone in a position of authority, like a supervisor or manager, offers or implies a work-related benefit in exchange for sexual favors. For example, a supervisor promises an employee a promotion if they go on a date. Even if no tangible job action occurs yet, merely proposing such an arrangement constitutes illegal quid pro quo harassment.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment exists when inappropriate sexually-oriented conduct creates an intimidating or offensive workplace, which interferes with an employee’s work performance. This could include sexual comments or jokes, vulgar gestures, groping, stalking, displaying graphic images, and other harassment that isn’t directly tied to job benefits. Even if it doesn’t result in economic harm, subjecting workers to a hostile environment based on gender is against the law.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

To give you a better idea of what specific actions typically qualify as unlawful sexual harassment, here are some examples:

  • Sexual comments, sexual advances, insults, threats, or propositions
  • Vulgar jokes, gestures, or conduct of a sexual nature
  • Physical touching, groping, grabbing, kissing, hugging, or assault
  • Repeatedly asking a colleague on dates after they have said no
  • Displaying lewd or graphic sexual images in the workplace
  • Making inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance or body
  • Spreading sexual rumors about co-workers
  • Massaging someone’s neck or shoulders without consent
  • Blocking someone’s path or otherwise physically intimidating them
  • Staring in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Sending unwanted love letters, gifts, or sexually explicit content
  • Promising work benefits for sexual acts or dates
  • Sabotaging someone’s work after they rebuffed advances.

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of common sexually harassing behaviors. If anything at your workplace is making you uncomfortable, causing distress, or affecting your work, it may constitute unlawful harassment. Talk to a San Diego lawyer from Hamparyan to see what legal options are available to you.

Know Your Rights: Sexual Harassment Laws in California

Federal law prohibits workplace harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also expressly forbids sexual harassment and protects additional classes. Employers have a duty to prevent harassment and must take swift corrective action when it occurs. Under California law, workers have the right to file administrative complaints and lawsuits if harassment persists.

Protected Classes

FEHA prohibits harassment not just based on gender, but also targeting protected characteristics like race, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Harassment directed at those groups would also be illegal.

What Monetary Damages Can I recover in a Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

Successful legal action over sexual harassment can lead to various damage rewards, including:

  • Lost income from being forced to leave a job
  • Decreased earning capacity due to blacklisting
  • Medical costs from psychological or physical harm
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Emotional distress
  • In a few cases, punitive damages to punish malicious failures to protect employees.

Awards often reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, depending on harassment severity and employer negligence. Note that each case is unique and outcomes vary widely. To know what your case could be worth, discuss with our sexual harassment attorney at the Hamparyan firm.

Types of Damages Awarded in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit in California

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate the victim for financial losses incurred due to the harassment. This includes:

  • Lost wages and benefits: If the harassment caused the victim to lose their job or have to take unpaid leave, they can claim damages for the wages and benefits they would have earned.
  • Lost promotions: If it can be shown that the harassment prevented the victim from being promoted, the lost higher wages can be claimed.
  • Medical expenses: Victims may recover the cost of any medical or psychological treatment needed to address conditions caused by the harassment.

Emotional Distress Damages

These damages compensate the victim for non-economic harm like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Stress
  • Humiliation
  • Damage to reputation.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be awarded if the employer acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. This serves to punish the employer and deter future misconduct.

A victim can potentially recover lost income, medical costs, damages for emotional harm, and additional punitive damages in a California sexual harassment case. The exact amount depends on the specific details and severity of each case. Consulting an experienced sexual harassment attorney is advisable to fully understand one’s rights and options.

Steps To Take If You Experience Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you believe you are the victim of unlawful sexual harassment at work, you should take proactive steps right away to assert your rights. Important actions include:

Keep Detailed Records

Document in writing all incidents of harassment, including dates, times, locations, names of perpetrators and witnesses, and specifics of what happened. Save any evidence like texts, images, or gifts. This documentation will be invaluable for any investigation or legal claim.

Report Internally

You should file an internal complaint through your employer’s HR department according to their policies. Reporting promptly can potentially stop the harassment sooner. At the very least, it can show you made good-faith efforts to resolve matters internally first.

Seek Legal Counsel

Consulting an attorney who is knowledgeable in sexual harassment law can help you navigate the process effectively. They can interface with your employer while protecting your rights. If internal handling fails and you must file a complaint with a government agency, a skilled lawyer’s representation is essential. While you hope matters won’t reach the legal stage, preserving that option is crucial if harassment persists despite internal reports.

Why Hire An Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney?

Pursuing action against a harasser or company can be an intimidating process, especially if retaliation occurs. An attorney levels the playing field by applying their expertise to build your case. Specific benefits of legal representation include:

Navigating the System

The complaint procedures and laws related to sexual harassment cases can be complex. A lawyer intimately understands all the rules and timelines to follow at each stage. They manage communications and filings to position you for the best outcome.

Settlement Negotiations

If you wish to resolve your harassment claim through a settlement agreement, a seasoned attorney can act as an assertive negotiator to secure optimal terms. This includes getting the highest financial compensation while also inserting protections against retaliation.

Strong Legal Case

If efforts to settle fail and you must file a lawsuit, a skilled sexual harassment litigator knows how to develop an airtight case by gathering evidence, deposing witnesses, and more. Their command of applicable laws allows them to construct the strongest arguments.

Trial Experience

While most claims settle out of court, your attorney must be fully prepared to take your harassment case to trial if necessary. Their ability to advocate persuasively before a judge and jury will enable you to present the best case possible.

With an attorney’s counsel, you can make informed choices at each stage of the process while they handle the legal complexities for you. Their expertise can prove invaluable for obtaining justice.

Why Choose Hamparyan Law Firm for Your Sexual Harassment Case

When looking for an attorney to handle your workplace harassment claim, it is essential to find someone who’s trusted in your area. At Hamparyan Law Firm in San Diego, our qualified attorneys have extensive experience in California law and have earned the trust of many Southern Californians. Here’s why:

Successful Track Record

Over our 20+ years representing clients in San Diego, we have handled numerous civil claims and lawsuits, and secured sizable financial recoveries. We have repeatedly demonstrated our ability to build strong cases and negotiate effectively with employers and insurance companies.

Compassionate Counsel

We understand that sexual harassment cases are delicate, so we provide sensitive, family-like legal service. We’ll handle your information with care and confidentiality. Our law office appreciates the courage it takes to come forward, hence we fully commit to protecting your interests every step of the way.

No Fees Unless We Win

We handle sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront payments are required from clients. We only collect legal fees if and when we secure financial compensation for you, whether through settlement or jury award.

Frequently Asked Questions About Workplace Sexual Harassment

What should I do if HR doesn’t take action after I report sexual harassment?

If you followed your employer’s policies for reporting harassment, but Human Resources fails to properly investigate or stop the misconduct, you should immediately consult an attorney. Your lawyer can send a letter insisting on appropriate corrective action, help you file a complaint with the appropriate government agencies, and potentially build your case for a lawsuit. Lack of response to internal reports helps show their negligent handling.

With which government agency should I file my sexual harassment complaint?

In California, you may file your sexual harassment complaint with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or both (cross-filing). These government offices investigate workplace harassment cases and may give you a “right to sue” notice, allowing you to file a lawsuit. It’s best to consult with a lawyer to guide you on the complaint process.

Can I still have a case if I didn’t report the harassment right away?

Yes, you can still potentially recover damages even if you did not report the harassment immediately. However, prompt reporting does strengthen your case and helps stop the misconduct sooner. An attorney can help you explain any delays in reporting.

What monetary damages can I recover in a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit?

If you win your case or secure a favorable settlement, you may recover compensation for lost income, medical costs, emotional distress, and punitive damages which punish the company. The total value depends on the severity and duration of the harassment.

Should I give a statement to my employer’s attorneys about the harassment?

You should politely decline to be interviewed by defense attorneys without your own lawyer present. Statements you make can be used against you later. Your attorney can handle communications and submit a written statement instead, protecting your rights. During a deposition, your lawyer can object to inappropriate questions.

Can my employer fire me for making a sexual harassment complaint?

No, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who oppose harassment or participate in investigations. Firing someone for reporting sexual harassment constitutes wrongful termination in violation of FEHA and Title VII. If retaliation occurs, discuss it with your lawyer right away. An experienced attorney should add this claim to your lawsuit and seek additional damages.

What are some examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment?

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when someone with authority uses the power of their position to demand sexual favors. Examples include a supervisor promising an employee a raise if they go on a date, or threatening demotion if they refuse advances. Even without directly changing job status yet, merely proposing such bargains is unlawful.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim in California?

In California, you normally have three years to file a sexual harassment complaint with the DFEH, or 180 days with the EEOC, starting on the date of last harassment incident. Either agency may give you a right-to-sue notice. Once you have this notice, you normally have one year to file a lawsuit. An attorney can advise you on the applicable statute of limitations and ensure you meet all deadlines.

How much does it cost to hire a sexual harassment attorney in San Diego?

At Hamparyan Law Firm, we provide compassionate, dedicated representation to sexual harassment victims on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us no lawyer fees during the process. Our attorneys only collect legal fees after successfully resolving your case through settlement or jury verdict. This ensures affordable access to justice for all victims.

What are some common workplace retaliation tactics employers use?

Employers frequently try to silence victims through retaliation like unwarranted demotion or discipline, wrongful termination, cuts in hours and pay, or assignment to less desirable duties. They may also ostracize employees by encouraging others to shun them. These tactics aim to punish victims so they drop complaints.

What percentage of sexual harassment victims are men?

While women face higher rates overall, studies show that a large percentage of men also experience sexual harassment. One national study in 2021 showed that alongside 81% of women, 43% of men reported getting sexually harassed or assaulted.

The stigma around reporting causes workplace harassment against men to be underreported. But harassment remains illegal regardless of gender, and male victims have the same rights to pursue legal action. An attorney can help male employees recover compensation when subjected to unlawful misconduct.

Don’t Delay – Get Your Free Consultation From California Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Hamparyan

If you believe you suffered sexual harassment at work, the Hamparyan firm is ready to support you in exercising your rights and pursuing justice. Our experienced San Diego attorneys offer compassionate guidance and aggressive representation to help workers recover damages from employers. We are committed to helping survivors move forward while holding perpetrators fully accountable under the law.

Contact us for a free consultation if you wish to discuss your situation. Call today at (619) 550-1355.


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