Congress and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In a recent interview with People magazine, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand shed light on the issue of sexual harassment amongst members of Congress, confirming that workplace harassment occurs even in the buildings in which our federal laws are made. While refraining from identifying members by name, Gillibrand reported that one Southern lawmaker told her, “You know,  Read More …

Third Party Rights to Bring Retaliation Claims

In the case of Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, the plaintiff, Thompson, claimed he was fired by his employer in retaliation for his fiancé’s filing of an EEOC complaint against the same employer. On January 24, 2011, the US Supreme Court unanimously held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects a third-party  Read More …

Hughes v. Pair Presents Potential Quid Pro Quo Loophole

The California Supreme Court in Hughes v. Pair (July 2009) ruled that sexual requests to a plaintiff, without consequential adverse action in response to a plaintiff’s refusal to comply with sexual favors, does not constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment. After the plaintiff’s trustees had voted to give her money for just one month for  Read More …

The Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the United States Federal law in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace and harassment based on the sex of an employee. Harassment is conduct that is not necessary for the performance of a supervisory job, but is instead outside  Read More …

What is Sufficiently Severe Sexual Harassment for a Hostile Work Environment Claim?

In order for a hostile work environment lawsuit to be viable, the sexual harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the victim’s employment and create an abusive and hostile work environment. There is no bright line rule for what conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive sexual harassment to constitute a hostile work environment.  Read More …

What is Sufficiently Pervasive Sexual Harassment for a Hostile Work Environment Claim?

A successful hostile work environment sexual harassment claim must show that the harassment is sufficiently severe of pervasive to alter the victim’s environment into one what is hostile and abusive. The hostile work environment sexual harassment may be either severe or pervasive or both. With respect to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, courts have held  Read More …

Using Your Strengths to Overcome Sexual Harassment

Determine your top five character strengths and how to use them to overcome and cope with the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can create an offensive work environment, leaving victims feeling fear, guilt or shame—but they are far from helpless in overcoming and coping with the effects of harassment. Get informed,  Read More …

Employment Law: Sexual Harassment Statute of Limitations in California

The sexual harassment statute of limitations in California is that a victim must file a charge of discrimination with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within ONE YEAR from the date of the last incident of sexual harassment. The victim then has the option to ask the DFEH to investigate the claim or  Read More …

Sexual Favoritism and Hostile Work Environment

Sexual favoritism can create a hostile work environment, even for those who are not sexually propositioned. California law provides that plaintiffs may establish the existence of a hostile work environment, even when they themselves have not been sexually propositioned. Widespread favoritism based upon consensual sexual affairs may imbue the workplace with an atmosphere that is  Read More …

Taking the First Steps

Attorney Timothy Broderick discusses the options one has in taking the first steps in responding to sexual harassment in the workplace.   ______ Attorney Timothy Broderick’s LinkedIn page. Attorney Timothy Broderick’s Avvo page. Attorney Katrina Saleen’s LinkedIn page. Attorney Katrina Saleen’s Avvo Page. Visit attorneys Timothy Broderick and Katrina Saleen at: Broderick Saleen Facebook Broderick  Read More …

What is Retaliation?

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has made a  discrimination or sexual harassment claim, or who has filed a charge with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or who has participated in a sexual harassment investigation as either a complainer or a witness,  Read More …

Sexual Harassment Attorney Katrina Telfer Saleen’s Video Biography

Attorney Katrina Telfer Saleen of the Broderick Law Firm shares some personal background and her motivations for practicing sexual harassment law.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

“Hostile work environment” sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subject to unwelcome advances, sexual innuendos, or offensive gender-related language that is sufficiently severe or pervasive from the perspective of a reasonable person of the same gender as the offended employee. Hostile work environment harassment requires, under the law, a link between the hostility by  Read More …

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

“Quid pro quo” translates from Latin to English as “this for that.”  The basic idea is that of an exchange.  I do something for you, and you, in turn, do something for me.  You may have heard the saying, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”  This conveys the same underlying message, and it  Read More …

Do You Need a Sexual Harassment Lawyer?

Sexual harassment can manifest itself in different forms, which makes it difficult for a sexual harassment victim to accurately assess the strength of their harassment claim and/or retaliation claim and what the next steps ought to be. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help you navigate the complications involved in employment law. In California, the courts  Read More …

Common Mistake #11 – Not Getting an Attorney Involved Early in the Process

Victims often wait too long to get an attorney involved in their sexual harassment case. It is best to get an attorney involved in your case as early as possible. Attorneys will often make a demand for settlement before the victim files an administra tive complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)  Read More …

Common Mistake #8 – Taking Management’s Word That the Victim Does Not Have a Case

An employer’s human resources department has the goal of protecting the employer. After a sexual harassment victim makes a complaint to management or the human resources department, it is important for sexual harassment victims to realize that they should not necessarily take management’s word in determining whether they have a viable legal claim. The information  Read More …

Common Mistake #7 – Not Understanding Retaliation

   It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a sexual harassment or discrimination victim for filing a charge with the DFEH or EEOC, participating in a sexual harassment investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices. If, for example, an employee makes a claim of sexual harassment that does meet the legal criteria of being sufficiently  Read More …

Common Mistake #6 – Not Knowing What Constitutes Actionable Sexual Harassment or Discrimination

   It is important for victims to know their rights. Using tools such as literature on sexual harassment and the advice of an attorney to understand what conduct constitutes sexual harassment is a powerful step in confirming a victim’s rights and can build confidence and assist in moving forward with the next steps in stopping  Read More …

Common Mistake #5 – Not Getting Mental Health Care Early

   Another mistake that victims of sexual harassment sometimes make is thinking that they should cope with the affects of sexual harassment on their own. Victims of sexual harassment may be affected by the harassment in a number of debilitating ways. A sexual harassment victim may suffer from depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, sleeplessness or nightmares,  Read More …

Common Mistake #4 – Failing to Follow-Up After Complaining to the Employer

   After an employee makes a complaint to his or her employer regarding sexual harassment, the employer is required to take action. The California FEHA states that employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful harassment. California and federal law requires that an employer must take remedial action in response to a report of sexual harassment.  Read More …

Common Mistake #3 – Not Reporting the Harassment Early

   Under California law, there is an affirmative defense to limit damages in harassment actions called the avoidable consequences defense, which an employer may raise when a sexual harassment victim delays reporting the harassment to the employer. California courts have recognized that a defending employer has the ability to plead an affirmative defense in sexual harassment  Read More …

Common Mistake #2 – Not Documenting the Harassment

   As the harassment occurs, it can be helpful in later litigation to have a written account of each incident of harassment that took place. As part of documenting the harassment, make sure to save any memos, letters or emails that are related to the harassment, but be careful not to violate the employer’s confidentiality  Read More …

Common Mistake #1 – Not Telling the Harasser to Stop

   In order to prove a cause of action for sexual harassment, the plaintiff must show that the harasser’s behavior was unwanted. In order to be sure that the harasser knows that his or her conduct is unwanted, a victim should tell the harasser to stop.   A victim of sexual harassment should clearly tell  Read More …