Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination occurs when your employer treats you differently because of a protected category, including your race, color, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy and religion or disability/medical condition.  Employers may discriminate in various aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, job assignment, wrongful termination, compensation, and different forms of harassment.

If you feel that you have been discriminated at work on the basis of any of these protected categories contact us.  We will analyze your situation and provide you with options.  The Villegas Law Firm, APC, fights on behalf of clients who have suffered from illegal employment practices.  You don’t have to put up with treatment you know to be wrong.  Call us at 415-989-8000 or click here to contact us online.

Sexual Harassment

Victims of sexual harassment may feel conflicting emotions.  On the one hand, they may feel anger, disgust and a loss of self-esteem.  On the other hand, they may feel afraid and anxious about the possibility of losing their jobs — especially if the CEO, or the owner or manager of the company where they work is the person harassing them.

Many victims fear that reporting the matter will result in retaliation. Perhaps their boss will demote them, give them a poor work performance evaluation, or simply fire them.  Worse, victims may fear that no one will believe them.

Sexual Harassment And FEHA Protection

Both federal law and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit sexual harassment. In California if a supervisor engages in sex harassment against an employee under their direct supervision, the company may be held strictly liable.  Furthermore, employers cannot retaliate against you because you complain about sexual harassment.

What Is Sexual Harassment And What Can I Do About It?

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.  Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex.  For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.  Both the victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Steps to Take if You Have Been Sexually Harassed:

If you’ve been sexually harassed in the recent past or are currently being harassed, you can either continue to take it or you can stand up for your rights.  We will explain your rights and possible courses of action.

Types Of Sexual Harassment

The law recognizes two kinds of sexual harassment — quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Learn the difference between them below:

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is created when harassment is serious and repeated and may include  being forced to work in the presence of sexually explicit emails, pictures, pornography, lewd jokes and other sexually hostile, offensive, oppressive, intimidating, or abusive behavior. A combination of individual comments or actions, even if not directed at you specifically, may create what is called a hostile work environment. Working under those types of conditions can constitute sexual harassment and we can help you to take the appropriate action.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a term of employment is conditioned on the submission to unwelcome sexual advances.  For example, if continued employment, a promotion or fair treatment on the job depends on a sexual or personal relationship with a manager or person in a position of power, that demand clearly represents quid pro quo sexual harassment.

The types of activity that constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment range from sexual assault and battery to more subtle forms of conduct, such as requesting dates in exchange for a pay raise or inappropriate touching.

Examples Of Sexual Harassment

Learn about sexually harassing behavior and how to protect yourself from these types of sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Vulgar language
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Obscene gestures
  • Inappropriate photos and comments online and social media
  • Porn on screen
  • Sexual advances
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Sexual notes or emails
  • Sexual pictures

Representing Sexual Harassment Victims In California

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, we want you to know that you do have rights and there is legal recourse.  Our attorneys work hard to protect the civil rights of employees throughout California.

Once you are represented by counsel, your employer may be less likely to take adverse actions against you, including demotion, termination, changing the conditions of your employment or other retaliatory treatment.  In fact, if your employer treats you unfairly because you complained about or filed a claim for sexual harassment, they risk liability for additional damages under state and federal law. For a free initial consultation, call us at 415-989-8000 or click here to contact us online.

Schedule a Free Consultation

For questions about our practice, or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call us at 415-989-8000 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.