California Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Attorney

When people hear “sexual harassment,” most think of a man harassing a woman or a woman harassing a man. While opposite-sex harassment is common, it’s not the only possibility. Sexual harassment between two people of the same sex happens more often than what you may believe – and not just among individuals in the LGBTQ community. Women and men may sexually harass others of the same sex in order to put them down, make them quit, threaten them, coerce them, or harass them through “teasing.” Just because your harasser is of the same sex, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a case of sexual harassment. Work with the attorneys at Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, to better understand your potential claim in California.

Is It Sexual Harassment?

Before you act against your alleged harasser, find out if the law defines the action in questions as sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has federal laws in place that define workplace harassment. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, “sexual harassment” is any unwelcome action or behavior of a sexual nature that’s a condition of employment or that creates a hostile work environment. “Unwelcome” is the key term here – a claimant can’t welcome the conduct and then file a sexual harassment claim. The sex of either party doesn’t matter.

The EEOC clarifies that a singular incident, offhand comment, or simple teasing isn’t sexual harassment unless the incident was so severe as to create a threatening workplace environment. If another man or woman said something that made you feel harassed, the first step you should take is to talk to the offender. He or she may have made the comment as a joke and didn’t realize how you perceived it. Other workers may have also felt harassed by the comment and can support you in filing a complaint.

If a conversation doesn’t solve the problem, take your claim to Human Resources and then the EEOC. Check your employee handbook or workplace policy guide to see if the person’s conduct qualifies as prohibited. If so, you have a right under these policies to file a claim with your HR department and seek protection. An employer that fails to act regarding sexual harassment after an employee files a claim is guilty of negligence. In this case, take your case to an attorney.

Know Your Rights

Same-sex harassment can take the form of inappropriate jokes, offensive pictures or emails, unwelcome touching, unwanted sexual advances, or discrimination due to sex or another protected personal characteristic, such as race or age. One of these behaviors must create an offensive, abusive, or threatening work environment to carry a sexual harassment claim. Keep in mind, however, that harassment doesn’t have to be sexual in nature – it simply must be harassment based on the victim’s sex.

For example, if a fellow female employee routinely makes sexist comments and puts other women in the workplace down based on their sex, she is guilty of sexual harassment. Comments don’t necessarily have to be sexual. Same-sex harassment laws come into play under Title VII regardless of whether the male or female employee was homosexual or heterosexual. If you’re in any doubt about whether your situation constitutes sexual harassment, speak to an employment law attorney.

Sexual harassment attorneys in California at Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, offer free consultations at our many offices throughout the state. We have the skills and experience to investigate your same-sex harassment case, file a claim with the appropriate agencies, and seek compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages. We want to help you take a stand against a same-sex harasser. Contact us today to learn more.