Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney

Emanuel Shirazi

Harassment in the workplace is illegal. There are several things you should know about Los Angeles harassment laws prior to working with a sexual harassment attorney.

  1. The Definition of Sexual Harassment

Under the definition used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is any form of harassment based on the person’s sex. This includes asking for sexual favors, unwanted advances, and rude or derogatory statements about someone’s sex. Sexual harassment also includes discrimination based on an employee’s sex.

  1. The Types of Harassment

Sexual harassment cases typically fall under the two categories of hostile work environment or quid pro quo.

An employer, manager, or employee with power over another employee’s job is the only employee who can engage in quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo harassment is when one of those employers or managers requests or receives a sexual favor from an employee. This favor may be in exchange for a positive employment action, such as a raise or a promotion. The favor may also be at the threat of a negative employment action, such as wrongful termination.

  1. Is One Incident Enough for a Claim?

In order to file a civil sexual harassment claim, the incident must be repeated or severe. In some cases, one event is enough to succeed in a claim if it is very serious. However, some rude remarks are often not enough to file a claim. Unfortunately, minor events may not be enough for a successful claim until a work environment is intolerable to any reasonable person. An attorney can help you understand your options.

  1. What Is an Employer Responsible For?

Before hiring a sexual harassment attorney, you likely want to go through your company’s system for reporting harassment. Employers are responsible for a safe environment free of harassment. Although an employer may not fire the harassing employee or manager, the employer should take clear steps to limit the behavior. If they do not do so in a reasonable amount of time, you may want to contact an attorney.

  1. Understanding the Company Policy

The company policy will tell you the process for filing a harassment claim in your workplace. It also explains what steps the employer should take to resolve the situation. If the policy is not clear or does not have these steps, this could be useful evidence for a civil claim.

  1. Understanding Retaliation Protection

Many employees are afraid to file a sexual harassment claim for fear of losing their employment. Although California is an at-will state, employers cannot fire someone based on illegal reasons. Filing a complaint through your workplace or filing a civil claim against harassment are protected actions. An employer is not allowed to fire you for this reason.

  1. Evidence for a Strong Case

It’s important to document your experiences of harassment. Other useful information includes eyewitnesses to harassment, coworkers who have experienced the same treatment, or internal communication that demonstrates harassment.

  1. Understand the Defenses an Employer May Use

Your case may be stronger if you and your attorney understand how your employer may respond to them. An employer may try to claim that you are lying, that you didn’t follow the proper processes to report the incident, or that the actions do not fit the definition of sexual harassment.

  1. Know When an Attorney Is Essential

If you have been a victim of repeated sexual harassment, you may want to talk with an attorney. Your attorney can help you determine whether to file a civil claim or administrative complaint or initiate the complaint process in your workplace. If you have already made a complaint to your employer, and you feel no actions have been taken, you need an attorney to determine how to most effectively protect your rights.

  1. Protect Yourself and Your Rights

It is important that you keep yourself safe, and that includes ensuring this behavior doesn’t repeat itself. Though it may feel overwhelming, filing a claim or going through your employer’s reporting system may prevent harassing behaviors from repeating.


Q: What Are Four Questions You Would Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring Them?

A: There are many important questions to ask an attorney prior to hiring them to determine their experience level and understanding of the field of law unique to you. When you are dealing with a sexual harassment case, it is especially important that an attorney knows how to manage your case with the care and focus you need. Four important questions include:

  1. What is your strategy for sexual harassment cases? How would you approach my case?
  2. Are harassment cases usually settled in litigation or mediation?
  3. What information and evidence do you need from me?
  4. What is your success rate in cases like mine?

Q: What Makes a Strong Harassment Case?

A: Clear evidence of severe and repeated events makes for a strong harassment case. The filing party should have personal documentation of the incidents, noting down the day, time, and events that took place. Evidence that makes a strong claim includes:

  • Communication between parties, showing evidence of harassing behavior
  • Eyewitness statements from coworkers or others who saw harassment take place
  • Statements from other coworkers who have experienced similar treatment
  • Sections from company policy that demonstrate where it was not followed or demonstrate where it is not an effective policy

Q: Why Is Harassment So Difficult to Prove?

A: Harassment claims are harder to prove because clear evidence of behavior can be hard to find. Frequently, employers and coworkers who engage in the behavior are aware of the illegality of their actions. Therefore, they do not leave clear evidence in communication and avoid witnesses to their behavior. An experienced attorney is an essential asset when working to prove a harassment case.

Q: What Is the Burden of Proof in a Harassment Case?

A: When filing a civil harassment claim, the filing party, or the victim of harassment, has the burden of proof. In California, the standard for the burden of proof in a civil harassment claim is that the judge finds clear and convincing evidence. An effective harassment attorney can review your situation and help you pinpoint evidence that can be used in your favor. A civil claim enables the filing party to receive financial damages for monetary losses and emotional damage.

Contact Shirazi Law Firm PC

Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable, but it is unfortunately common. At Shirazi Law Firm, PC, we want to defend your employee rights, and we believe no one should have to suffer this treatment. Contact our team today to learn how we can represent you.

Recent Posts