Irvine Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Working, taking care of ourselves, and taking care of our families is hard enough as it is, and it shouldn’t be made harder by having to work in an unsafe workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment at work is very real and very common. If there’s anything making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the workplace, you should know that you can do something about it; you don’t have to put up with this behavior. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options with our Irvine employment attorneys.

Examples of Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

In some circumstances, sexual harassment is incredibly easy to identify. Often, though, you can experience it without truly understanding or being aware that it is considered sexual harassment. Some common examples of sexual harassment include the following:

  • Sexual touches, such as inappropriate touching and uninvited hugs
  • Requesting sex in exchange for a promotion or a raise
  • Asking sexual questions and telling sexual jokes
  • Blowing kisses and winking
  • Being pressured to go on a date
  • Unwanted closeness
  • Being catcalled or whistled at 

Types of Sexual Harassment in Irvine

While it’s helpful to know specific examples of sexual harassment, it’s also important to be familiar with the categories of sexual harassment. The two types of sexual harassment include quid pro quo and hostile work environment. 

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo literally means “something for something” or “this for that.” In the case of sexual harassment, this occurs when a supervisor or someone who has authority or power over you in the workplace demands that you engage in some type of sexually charged behavior in exchange for something. Your boss tells you that if you don’t go on a date with them, you won’t get promoted. It’s important to note that this type of sexual harassment doesn’t have to be requested outright. For example, if you refuse to go on a date with a supervisor and they then fire you because of this, this is also quid pro quo sexual harassment, even though they didn’t specifically tell you that you’d be fired unless you went on a date with them.   

Hostile Work Environment

The second type of sexual harassment in the workplace is hostile work environment harassment. Any employee in the office can create a hostile work environment that amounts to sexual harassment; it doesn’t have to be a supervisor or someone with authority over you. This type of harassment occurs when an employee or supervisor engages in unwelcome conduct based on sex, which creates a workplace that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. For example, an employee that stares at your chest every time you speak with them, or a colleague who continues to ask you on a date even after you have said no and requested that they stop asking.

It’s important to also understand that this type of sexual harassment can exist even if the actions or words aren’t directed specifically to you. If you have a coworker who has obscene photographs hanging in the office, or they tell sexual jokes to someone else in the office while you’re there, this could be considered sexual harassment, as a reasonable person may see this as creating an intimidating and hostile workplace. 

We often think of sexual harassment as only males harassing only females, but this is not the case. All types of sexual harassment can be perpetrated by someone of any sex or gender.

Retaliation is Illegal in California

If you’re experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and you report it, it is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you. If you are transferred to a different department, demoted, denied a raise or bonus that you are entitled to, or terminated, amongst other things, you can report your employer for retaliation. If your employer is intentionally engaging in conduct that will negatively affect your work because you reported sexual harassment, you should speak with a lawyer about this immediately. 

It can be scary to report your employer for this, but you have the right to work in a safe environment where you aren’t punished for asserting your rights. 

Document As Much as Possible, Then Call Our Irvine Harassment Lawyers

If you are experiencing workplace sexual harassment in Irvine, make sure you document as many details as possible. Keep any text messages, emails, or voicemails you receive that could show evidence of the harassment. If there were witnesses to the conduct, write down who was there and when it occurred so your lawyer can speak with them when building your case. Additionally, make notes of exactly what was said, what actions were taken, and any other details about the sexual harassment, as you want to make sure your account is as detailed and accurate as possible if you decide to take action.

If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Irvine sexual harassment attorneys for a free consultation. We are always happy to help.