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I’m Being Sexually Harassed by My Manager – What Are My Options?

I’m Being Sexually Harassed by My Manager – What Are My Options?

Unwanted sexual conduct has no place in the work environment. Yet many employees still face inappropriate comments, advances, or contact from supervisors and colleagues. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you have the rights and resources to speak out.

At Malk Law Firm, we help employees stand up to workplace harassment. By taking key steps to document and report misconduct, you can find the support you need during this difficult process. This article will walk through actionable measures we commonly recommend to hold perpetrators accountable while protecting your interests.

What is Considered Inappropriate Workplace Behavior?

Sexual harassment in a workplace constitutes a type of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Harassment encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that impedes your work performance or creates an intimidating environment, according to Section 12940 of FEHA. This ranges from explicit actions to subtle, suggestive comments.

You have a right to feel safe at work. No one should pressure you into unwanted conversations, touches, or relationships using their position of authority. If certain behaviors make you uncomfortable, pay attention to those feelings rather than second-guess yourself.

Documenting Workplace Harassment

If you suspect harassment, keeping a detailed log can prove invaluable. Track dates, times, locations, verbal statements, physical contacts, and the names of witnesses for each incident. Even if behaviors seem trivial initially, a written record reveals systemic issues over time.

Take notes discreetly after encounters end to capture objective facts using the involved parties’ actual words. Vague interpretations won’t carry as much weight. Stick to concrete descriptions of what happened.

Reporting Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace

You have the right to file a complaint with your employer’s human resources (HR) department per California law. Any complaint constitutes a protected activity that, by law, is safe from employer retaliation. HR then initiates an investigation into the allegations, usually involving separate interviews.

Expect HR to keep your complaint as confidential as possible while assessing merits. Co-workers may still learn about the situation indirectly, however, given the nature of internal reviews.

What Happens After You Speak to HR?

After launching a harassment investigation, employers should thoroughly look into the complaint evidence, produce specific findings regarding policy violations, and recommend corrective actions if misconduct occurs.

Potential outcomes range from clarifying guidelines, issuing formal warnings, and terminating accused employees to removing supervisory duties. The consequences depend on the complaint specifics and prior disciplinary records.

Seeking External Support When Employers Fail to Act

While reporting harassment internally constitutes an important first action, companies don’t always respond adequately. If you feel your employer dismissed concerns or didn’t apply appropriate corrective measures, don’t hesitate to seek external support.

Under California’s FEHA, you can file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (formally called the Department of Fair Employment and Housing). This state agency investigates harassment claims independently. They possess enforcement authority, including subpoena power to compel witness testimony or evidence as needed.

You may also consult an employment attorney to discuss harassment lawsuit options. There are strict deadlines for taking legal action, so seek attorney counsel in a legal harassment case in a timely manner. Through litigation, courts can award monetary damages to compensate for physical, emotional, and professional harms stemming from abusive work environments.

Contact Malk Law Firm for Guidance

Confronting harassment charges involves navigating complex emotional terrain under legal stakes. At Malk Law Firm, we appreciate these sensitivities. If you’re weighing options to report misconduct or want counsel on the next steps, reach out.

Setting up an initial consultation comes at no charge. Our dedicated employment law attorneys will review complaint specifics, offer an honest assessment of response pathways, and discuss action timelines. We strive to lift burdens while empowering victims toward resolution.

You deserve work environments where talent and character determine success – not willingness to endure harassment. Let’s connect today to discuss your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be fired for reporting sexual harassment in California?

No, it is illegal under California law for an employer to fire someone in retaliation for making a complaint of sexual harassment, even if the investigation determines the claim cannot be substantiated. Reporting harassment constitutes a protected activity under California law.

What kind of behavior legally constitutes sexual harassment in California?

Sexual harassment encompasses unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, offensive remarks about appearance, and displaying inappropriate images in the workplace – that impede work performance or create an intimidating environment.

What should I do if my employer does nothing after I report sexual harassment in California?

If an internal harassment complaint does not result in adequate action, under California law, you can file a charge with the California Civil Rights Department so they can conduct an independent investigation with full enforcement authority.

Author Bio

Michael Malk is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Malk Law Firm, a Seattle employee rights law firm he started in 2007. With more than 20 years of experience practicing law, he has dedicated his career to representing clients throughout California and Washington in a wide range of legal areas, including unpaid wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and other employee rights matters.

Michael received his Juris Doctor from the University of California— Davis School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California, the State Bar of Washington, and the American Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named as one of the “Top Attorneys in Southern California” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2018 and being selected as a Super Lawyer for six consecutive years.

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