In the era of “me too,” it has become painfully clear that far too many women are exposed to unwanted attention and inappropriate behavior from their colleagues in the workplace. Sexual harassment spans all industries. It impacts people at different levels of seniority and all ages. Regardless of the circumstance, sexual harassment is not acceptable and you don’t have to accept it as part of your job.
Types of Sexual Harassment
The three forms sexual harassment often takes are:
(1) Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo is when a boss or supervisor demands sexual favors in exchange for being hired, promoted, or receiving other favorable working conditions. Employees often feel coerced into going along with it. Even if you’ve given in, you may still claim for sexual harassment.
(2) Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment exists when co-workers’ or supervisors’ conduct would cause a reasonable person to become so uncomfortable that it would impact their ability to do their job. A hostile work environment is judged by the totality of the conduct.
A co-worker or manager may retaliate against an employee for rebuffing a sexual advance. Retaliation can take the form of reduced hours, pay cuts, a transfer to a worse department or location, a demotion, being passed over for a promotion, pretextual disciplinary actions, or being fired. All these forms of retaliation of prohibited by sexual harassment laws.
Meet Karen and Amy, Two of Our Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Karen Menzies and Amy Zeman have spent much of their careers on the forefront of women’s rights issues.
Karen Menzies is nationally-recognized as an outstanding trial attorney, with more than twenty years of experience in federal and state court.
Karen focuses her practice on women’s health issues and drugs that cause harm to children. She currently represents women suffering permanent baldness following breast cancer chemotherapy treatments with Taxotere, and children who experienced severe side effects after taking the widely-prescribed medication Risperdal.
Karen has testified before FDA advisory boards and the California State Legislature on drug safety issues. She is considered a thought leader on women’s health issues.
Amy Zeman has made a name for herself as an advocate for women who assert their rights. She helps represent thousands of women who experienced complications from the birth-control medicines Yaz and Yasmin, and she has represented many women who suffered serious complications after receiving transvaginal mesh implants.
Amy has been named to the list of Northern California “Rising Stars” each year for the past 6 years and frequently participates in “Women En Mass,” an organization that:
brings together the best and brightest female attorneys to discuss issues that affect women – from the boardroom to the courtroom.
Service to Our Clients and the Community
Despite serving many clients, Amy gives each individual attention. As one of Amy’s clients shared:
The lawsuit was pretty complicated, but Amy would take her time and go over it and then ask me if I had any questions. With her help, it made it much easier to understand the whole process. -Elaine S.
One of Gibbs Law Group’s female partners served as Chair of the Women Trial Lawyer’s Caucus, which helps women gain access to leadership positions, career opportunities, and chances to serve as role models in their communities.
Sexual Harassment and Title VII
The main federal law on sexual harassment in the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The same law that prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace also prohibits sexual harassment.
(a) Harassment by a Co-Worker or Supervisor
Generally, Title VII does not prohibit simple teasing or isolated incidents that are not severe. It does, however, prohibit unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual assault, and severe and pervasive sexual remarks that degrade working conditions, making it hard to work there.
(b) Harassment by Customers or Clients
Employers are not supposed to tolerate repeated sexual harassment of their employees by customers or clients. Once you have informed your employer of the sexual harassment, they are required to take corrective measures to protect you from being harassed again by that customer or client. Your employer could ban the customer, assign someone else to the client’s account, send another person (such as HR) to any meeting between you and the client, or threaten to end the business relationship with the client if the harassment does not cease.
Meet More of Our Sexual Harassment Team
Gibbs Law Group is a California-based law firm committed to protecting the rights of clients nationwide who have been harmed by corporate misconduct. We represent individuals, whistleblowers, employees, and small businesses across the U.S. against the world’s largest corporations. Our award-winning lawyers have achieved landmark recoveries and over a billion dollars for our clients in high-stakes class action and individual cases involving consumer protection, data breach, digital privacy, and federal and California employment lawsuits. Our attorneys have received numerous honors for their work, including “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California,” “Top Class Action Attorneys Under 40,” “Consumer Protection MVP,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and “Top Cybersecurity/ Privacy Attorneys Under 40.”
Know your rights
No one should have to face sexual harassment alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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