Even in the modern workplace sexual harassment can still occur. As defined by the Fair Employment and Housing Act or FEHA sexual harassment covers several actions that create a hostile work environment. These include sexual jokes, physical assault, intimidation, tying advancement or rewards to sexual favors, refusal to take no for an answer, relation if sexual advancements are refuted, verbal abuse, and other forms of demeaning behavior are all types of sexual harassment.
Far too often harassment that is verbal in nature is ignored or reduced to an overreaction on the part of the harassment victim. It is important to know that you have rights, and that constant mistreatment of a sexual nature is still a crime and not something to be written off as jokes or office culture. A crime is a crime, and you have the right to your dignity and the ability to perform in your career free of harassment or threats. The state of California has specific laws and processes in place to file a harassment claim. While you certainly want the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney, understanding the process can give you a broad idea of what to expect and reduce your overall confusion about the process.
How To File A Sexual Harassment Claim
The state of California has a process of filing a sexual harassment claim that can help make the process less confusing.
Contact Your Company’s HR
While it may seem counterproductive to file a complaint with your employer, this is an important step in the process of creating a record of events. In situations where reporting harassment to your company does not solve the issue, it shows you followed proper procures and followed the employee handbook. Going through the proper channels can be an important part of proving your case if you have to file a lawsuit due to company non-action or an ineffective response. This can also show negligence on part of your employer if issues persist despite you following the agreed-upon company policy also, they cannot counter-argue that you did not go through the proper channels or give them a chance to correct any issues. Certainly filing a complaint with your company’s HR can be stressful and if you are concerned about the process or the steps you should take an attorney can assist.
Like any other crime proving harassment is reliant on evidence. Keeping records that clearly detail who is involved, what occurred, when it occurred, and where it occurred can be useful if legal action is required. Also, collect contact information for any witnesses and any documentation or records that are relevant to your complaint. This information is essential for the next step, officially filing a complaint with the proper authorities.
Notify The California Department Of Fair Employment And Housing
Filing a sexual harassment complaint with the DFEH is required before any civil proceeding can take place. In fact, if you attempt to file a lawsuit before officially filing a complaint it can be dismissed due to not following the proper procedure. The DFEH is a state agency tasked with enforcing the civil rights of all citizens of the state of California. This includes all forms of harassment and discrimination, and sexual harassment is one such issue that falls under their jurisdiction.
Notify The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC is the federal agency tasked with protecting citizens from discrimination in matters of employment. They investigate matters of discrimination such as gender discrimination, ageism, race, religion, sexual orientation, and origin. Despite working on the federal level they have field agencies across the nation to deal with issues that are brought to their attention. Do note that the DFEH and the EEOC cross-file with each other so you only to file with one agency and the other will know about the legal complaint meaning that filing with either the state or federal agency will meet proper protocol for a sexual harassment complaint. However, there can be differences between the two agencies in terms of process and an experienced attorney can guide you on which agency would be the best one to submit your harassment claim to ensure it is handled in a timely fashion.
The Next Step
Once you have filed a legal harassment complaint the agency you submitted it to will do a proper investigation. Your employer will be contacted, so they can properly respond to the allegation. Once these steps are completed the complaint can move to various outcomes including mediation for possible resolution and a lawsuit if an agreement cannot be reached. If a resolution or settlement is offered by your employer you are under no legal requirement to take it, and you can dispute it if you feel it does not properly address your concerns or desired compensation. An experienced attorney will be able to advise on the best steps to take and will work diligently to protect your rights in court if a lawsuit is required.
Areas Of Compensation
Harassment can feel like it’s completely derailed your career and also have a sizable impact on your personal life. Civil compensation can go towards helping you recover and also make up for lost earning potential. A civil judgment in your favor can cover many areas of compensation including mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional distress, physiological harm, psychological treatments that have been or may be required, and past and future lost professional compensation. Your attorney will consider all valid areas in relation to your specific case and its circumstances.
The Importance Of Legal Representation
When you have been a victim of sexual harassment you need an experienced professional consul to help support you and protect your interests. When you need legal representation the Gilleon Law Firm can assist. The Gilleon Law Firm prides itself on fighting for all its clients, especially those who feel like they are not getting taken seriously or their voices are being ignored. When your company is not supporting you it’s easy to feel like you have nowhere to turn. This is one reason legal representation is so important. The Gilleon Law Firm has the skill, experience, and resources to get you what you are rightly owed.