If you find yourself in the difficult position of filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you’ll want to consult with a sexual harassment lawyer right away. You should always consult your human resources department when you believe you have been harassed, but you might want to consult an attorney at this point as well. That way, if human resources doesn’t respond appropriately, or if the situation continues or escalates, you will be ready to take the next step.
In California, the two types of sexual harassment are quid-pro-quo (or this-for-that) and hostile environment. Quid-pro-quo is the exchange of sexual favors for some benefit, such as being hired or promoted. In this situation, whether or not the victim goes along with the scheme, he or she can sue. Other employees who are aware of the situation can also sue, because sexual favoritism is against the law.
A hostile environment is one in which an employee feels uncomfortable due to the words or actions of an employer or co-worker, usually of a sexual nature. The classic example is jokes or comments of a sexual nature. Any employee who is offended can make a sexual harassment claim. That is, if two employees tell jokes to one another, but a third employee overhearing them is the one who is offended, he or she can still press a claim. Offensive comments or actions which reflect on an employee’s race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion are also considered to create a hostile environment and are actionable.
In addition to notifying your company’s human resources department, and consulting a lawyer, you should document the situation. Keep track of the times and details of each event, and hang on to copies of any offensive emails or images. This will help in presenting your case and will help your lawyer to make a determination about your case.
Another way in which a lawyer will be of help is in deciding whether other illegal acts, such as discrimination, have taken place separate from the harassment. Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer is fairly common, and may strengthen your case, as well as making you eligible for additional settlements.
When it comes to choosing your attorney, get a recommendation from someone you trust if you can. Even if you don’t have a recommendation, talk to several different attorneys before making up your mind. Choose those who advertise their experience in sexual harassment law, not simply employment law.
Ask how much experience each attorney has with cases like yours, and what the outcomes have been. You should feel completely comfortable talking to your attorney, even about sexual details of the case, so if you don’t feel a rapport with a particular attorney, he or she isn’t the best choice for you.