Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles

"Sexual harassment is nothing less than a personal attack on the very core of the victim's dignity and sense of self worth. It also tends to be symptomatic of a workplace environment where employees are not treated as individuals worthy of respect. It gives me great satisfaction to obtain just compensation for my clients who have been victimized by this conduct."
                             --- James W. Johnston, Esq.


Overview

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Under state and federal law, even an "at-will" employee may bring a legal action against an employer or supervisor who has sexually harassed that employee.  The victim of sexual harassment can be either male or female.  Under California law, sexual harassment can include such things as: "Harassment" because of sex includes sexual harassment, gender harassment and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. 

Two Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in employment can take the form of either of the following:

Hostile Work Environment Harassment - This is where the sexual conduct results in an intimidating, hostile or offense work environment.  This can include verbal conduct, including epithets, derogatory comments or slurs; or physical conduct, including assault, impeding or blocking movement, or physical interference with normal work or movement; or visual harassment, such as derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings. 

Quid Pro Quo Harassment - This type of harassment usually involves a situation where a supervisor's request for sexual favors are linked to granting or denying job benefits, such as obtaining or keeping a job, or receiving a promotion or favorable job review.  This sometimes involves some form of sexual proposition by a supervisor, coupled with an express or implied threat that if the employee refuses, he or she will be terminated, denied a job, or lose job benefits.  In other situations, the employee is promised a promotion, raise, or other job benefit, if he or she submits to a sexual advance.

25 Years Experience
Mr. Johnston has been an attorney for more than 25 years, and is fully qualified to handle your sexual harassment claim.  If you believe that you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, we invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with Mr. Johnston about your case.

  


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Ask a Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment in your employment, we invite you to contact our law firm, by clicking on the link in the box at left.  Our client intake office is located at 333 South Grand Avenue, 35th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90071.

 

Sexual Harassment Resources

Anti Violence Resources at Feminist.com

 

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Can an At Will Employee Sue for Sexual Harassment?

Yes, an at will employee has the same rights as any other employee to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment. 

Is the Employer Liable for Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor?

Yes, if it is found that a supervisor is legally liable for sexual harassment, the employer will also be liable, regardless of whether or not it knew or should have known of the harassment. 

Damages for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Victims of workplace sexual harassment are entitled to both tort and statutory damages which include loss of any past or future wages, emotion distress damages. An employee victim of sexual harassment may also seek punitive damages.

Sample Superior Court Sexual Harassment Complaint
(Los Angeles County) 



 


Selected Sexual Harassment Cases

State Dept. of Health Services v. Superior Court (McGinnis) (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1026 , California Supreme Court; Held that an employer is strictly liable under the FEHA for sexual harassment by a supervisor.

Miller v. Department of Corrections (2005) 36 Cal.4th 446, California Supreme Court;  Held that, although an isolated instance of favoritism on the part of a supervisor toward a female employee with whom the supervisor is conducting a consensual sexual affair ordinarily would not constitute sexual harassment, when such sexual favoritism in a workplace is sufficiently widespread it may create an actionable hostile work environment in which the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as "sexual playthings" or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct with their supervisors or the management.


Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Productions (2006) 38 Cal.4th 264. California Supreme Court.  This case involved an employee who was a comedy writers' assistant who worked on the production of a popular television show called Friends. After being terminated, the employee brought a lawsuit alleging among other things that the writers' use of sexually coarse and vulgar language and conduct, including the recounting of their own sexual experiences, constituted harassment.  Our Supreme Court held: "Based on the totality of the undisputed circumstances, particularly the fact the Friends production was a creative workplace focused on generating scripts for an adult-oriented comedy show featuring sexual themes, we find no reasonable trier of fact could conclude such language constituted harassment directed at plaintiff because of her sex within the meaning of the FEHA. Furthermore, to the extent triable issues of fact exist as to whether certain offensive comments were made about women other than plaintiff because of their sex, we find no reasonable trier of fact could conclude these particular comments were severe enough or sufficiently pervasive to create a work environment that was hostile or abusive to plaintiff in violation of the FEHA." 

 


The above information is provided as a courtesy of The Johnston Law Firm, and constitutes only a brief summary of some general employment law, discrimination issues and related legal rights under California law.  As such it does not constitute legal advice, and you should contact an attorney to discuss any specific employment issue you may have.  For further questions, please contact our  office on the forms provided.

515 S. Flower Street, 36th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071
(213) 291-6977

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