Irvine Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Every person has the right to work in a safe environment. This includes a workplace free of harassing or abusive conduct. Unfortunately, many of us have been forced to deal with situations where an employer fails in this duty. As a result, innocent workers are often subject to abusive conduct on the basis of their sex or gender.
If you fall into this category, it is important that you speak with an experienced Irvine sexual abuse lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and options. At The Garza Firm, our team has decades of combined experience in handling a variety of workplace harassment and discrimination claims, including those involving sexual abuse. We understand how difficult it is to confront abusive conduct, which is why we will fight for you in court to address the problem.
California Employers Must Be Proactive in Stopping Workplace Sexual Abuse
Federal and California state laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex. This includes sexual abuse. An employer can be held responsible if one of its agents–such as a manager or co-worker–commits sexual abuse against an employee. The employer may also be liable if they failed to properly act on complaints of sexual abuse–or if they should have known about the abuse but still did nothing.
“Sexual abuse” in this context can apply to a wide variety of unwelcome sexual behaviors in the workplace. Some common examples of abuse include:
- pressuring an employee to provide sexual favors, especially in exchange for a job-related benefit like a raise or a promotion;
- exposing other employees to pornographic or sexually explicit images, videos, or similar materials while in a workplace environment;
- physically exposing oneself to a coworker;
- inappropriate staring or leering at a co-worker over an extended period of time; or
- sexual assault, i.e., any form of non-consensual touching of another person’s intimate areas with sexual intent.
It is up to the employer–not the employees who are targets or may become targets of sexual abuse–to be proactive in ensuring a safe environment for all workers. Employers must have policies in place to identify and address potential sexual abuse in the workplace. And these policies need to be enforced. Otherwise, the employer can be held liable under a number of legal theories of negligence, such as negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent retention of the sexual abuser.
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Many acts of sexual abuse are also considered criminal acts under California law. But even if a victim does not wish to go to the police–or the state declines to prosecute–they can still proceed with a civil action against the abuser and their employer. Remember, the burden of proof is substantially lower in civil cases, so a jury need only find that it was more likely than not that an act of sexual abuse occurred in the workplace to award monetary damages.
So if you have been the victim of an unsafe working environment and need to speak with a skilled Irvine sexual abuse lawyer, contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.