Irvine Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault is a serious matter that has no place in any working environment. It should go without saying that California employers need to have a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual assault. But the reality is often quite different.
If you have been the victim of sexual assault in the workplace, your first instinct might be to report the incident to a manager or supervisor. But you also need to be prepared to take independent legal action. A qualified Irvine sexual assault lawyer can advise and represent you in pursuing compensation from your attacker and your employer. At the Garza Firm, our team has over 60 years of combined experience in representing workers who have been harmed by sexual assault and abuse at work. We will make every effort to fight for the justice you are entitled to under the law.
Sexual Assault Is a Crime–and a Form of Illegal Workplace Discrimination
Many people associate sexual assault with rape. While rape is certainly the most serious category of sexual assault, the legal definition is quite broader. For example, California law defines criminal sexual battery as the unwanted touching of someone’s intimate parts. This includes the sexual organs, groins, buttocks, or female breasts. Sexual battery can be done through the victim’s clothing or by indirect contact.
Sexual battery can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony offense in California. But keep in mind, any criminal charge requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction. For that reason, prosecutors are often unable or unwilling to pursue workplace sexual assault cases. That does not mean a victim is without legal recourse, however, as they can still pursue a civil lawsuit against their attacker–and in many cases even their employer.
Sexual assault is considered a form of illegal sex discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In practical terms, this means an employer can be held liable if an owner or manager commits sexual assault against an employee. Alternatively, the employer may be responsible if they were aware of a sexual assault and failed to punish the wrongdoer or otherwise take appropriate corrective action.
And unlike a criminal sexual assault case–where the objective is usually to send the perpetrator to jail–a civil employment discrimination claim is focused on obtaining compensation for the victim. A successful civil suit can recover a variety of damages, including compensation for the victim’s ongoing medical bills, psychological care, and lost wages due to time missed from work. A court can also award noneconomic damages for ongoing pain and suffering.
Contact The Garza Firm Today
A sexual assault can leave you angry and frustrated over what to do next, especially if your employer is not taking any action to protect you. That is why you need to work with a skilled Irvine sexual assault lawyer who will put your best interests first. If you need to speak with an attorney, contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our staff.