If you’re considering filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in California, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
A sexual harassment lawsuit is a case in which a person who’s been sexually harassed at work sues his or her employer. Some of these cases don’t actually make it to court, though – some settle out of court. You may be able to file a lawsuit for quid pro quo sexual harassment or for sexual harassment that contributes to a hostile work environment.
(See 5 Signs That Someone is Sexually Harassing You for more information.)
What Does it Mean to Settle a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Out of Court?
Settling out of court means that the two parties agreed on a settlement amount (a dollar figure) without having to go to court. Usually, this happens as a result of negotiations. If you’ve hired a sexual harassment lawyer, he or she can negotiate with the employer on your behalf.
Quid Pro Quo vs. Hostile Work Environment Cases
Although there are two main types of sexual harassment – quid pro quo and hostile work environment – they all fall under the same umbrella if you’re going to sue. However, here are the differences between the two:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment is “this for that.” It involves some kind of benefit being offered in exchange for some type of sexual favor. In most cases, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs between a supervisor and a subordinate. That’s because the supervisor is in a position of power and is able to provide a reward or punishment. The benefit (or punishment) can range from giving the victim a raise or promotion to demoting or firing the victim.
- Hostile work environment sexual harassment is harassment that creates a workplace that a reasonable person would be uncomfortable in. It’s an intimidating, abusive or hostile place, and it can make it impossible for an employee to perform his or her work in a reasonable manner.
What Do You Need to Do Before You File a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
In some cases, telling the person who’s harassing you that he or she is making you uncomfortable is enough to stop the harassment. You can also ask someone you trust to talk to the person who’s harassing you.
But that doesn’t always work.
If talking to the harasser doesn’t help, you might need to talk to the person’s supervisor. (If your own supervisor is harassing you, go to his or her supervisor.)
By law, your employer has to take the necessary steps to stop the harassment. Many companies have detailed procedures for handling sexual harassment claims – and if yours does, follow it closely. If your employer doesn’t do something to stop the harassment, you might need to talk to a Glendale sexual harassment lawyer.
No matter what you do – and no matter what happens – make sure you keep detailed records of every instance of sexual harassment, all your complaints, and other incidents related to the harassment. Write down the names of the people involved, including witnesses, and the dates, times and details of what the harasser said or did.
What Your Attorney Can Do
Your attorney can find out if you have a right to sue. If you do, he or she will be able to take the reins and work on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
How Much Can You Win in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?
If you’re eligible to sue your employer for failing to keep you safe from sexual harassment, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Attorney’s fees and court costs
- Back pay
- Damages for your emotional distress
- Fringe benefits you lost
You could also be eligible for reinstatement if you lost your job, and a judge may order your employer to put policies in place to deal with sexual harassment.
Do You Need to Talk to a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Glendale?
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work and you’ve taken the appropriate steps to correct it, you could be eligible to file a sexual harassment lawsuit. Call us at 818-230-8380 for a free case review. We’ll answer your questions and talk about possible outcomes of your case, as well as give you the legal advice you need.