‘Tis The Season For Workplace Sexual Harassment
The holiday season generally means more social gatherings. Many companies will have holiday happy hours and holiday parties, which often feature alcohol and can create an atmosphere that tolerates and even encourages behavior that would otherwise fall outside of what is usually appropriate in the workplace. The relaxed environment and introduction of alcohol and blurring of social norms and inter-office hierarchies that are usually better defined can create a hotbed breeding increased instances of sexual harassment and other kinds of discrimination. If you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination this holiday season, you are not alone, and you may have legal remedies available to you.
Holiday Party Sexual Harassment
Many supervisors and bosses may not realize or consider the fact that the power they hold over an employee’s livelihood creates an inherent power imbalance. While a supervisor may ask you to kiss him and then swear he was joking, you may have valid and articulable fears that if you do not submit to his request you will lose your shifts or suffer other employment-related consequences. Requests for dates or requests of an otherwise sexual nature are always inappropriate in the workplace. Not every inappropriate comment, however, may rise to the level of sexual harassment. If the comments are particularly egregious, threatening, repeated, unwanted, or accompanied by threats of adverse employment actions, these comments may rise to the level of quid pro quo or hostile environment harassment, which is illegal in California.
Suing for Sexual Harassment
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, the next relevant question is how it has affected you. If this harassment has cost you promotions, created a hostile environment, or had a detrimental impact on your career then it’s a good idea to consult an attorney sooner rather than later to determine whether you have grounds to bring an employment discrimination lawsuit. A successful discrimination lawsuit will allow you to recover from the financial harm you have suffered as a result of career-damage resulting from the discrimination. Other damages may also be available, for instance, due to pain and suffering, if you developed a condition such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD as a result of their harassing or discriminatory behaviors. It will be necessary in court to demonstrate a pattern of harassment in most cases, so it is important to keep documentation of instances of the harassment, writing down or recording exactly what was said so that you have evidence to support your claims. Evidence that male employees or employees of the gender that your boss was not attracted to were treated differently can also help you to establish the connection between the documented behavior and your sex or in establishing a sexual motive or nature.
Talk to a San Jose Employment Attorney
If you are suffering or have experienced a negative career impact as a result of sexual harassment or other discrimination based on a protected status, our San Jose employment lawyers want to fight for your rights, hold your employer accountable, and get you the support and compensation that you are entitled to. Call the Costanzo Law Group to schedule a personalized consultation today.