What should I do to protect my legal rights if I have been sexually harassed at work?

There are some key steps you need to take to preserve your right to take legal action for workplace sexual harassment. Start with consulting your employer’s handbook to find out the process for reporting sexual harassment within your company. Follow the policy as closely as possible.

Employees will typically be required to file a complaint with their employer’s human resources department or a supervisor. Report the incident in writing, including as much detail as you can about what happened, who was involved, any witnesses and other helpful information. Be sure to keep a copy of all communications and documents regarding the complaint.

Understandably, your first instinct may be to delete offensive texts, emails, notes or images. However, you should hold on to any and all evidence of the harassing behavior as it can help support your sexual harassment claim later. You should also be very careful about what you share on social media. Your posts may be used later to discredit you or raise questions about your story and the harm you suffered.

Your employer must ensure the workplace is free of sexual harassment. This includes taking immediate and corrective steps in response to complaints about sexual harassment. If the problem remains unresolved after reporting it to your employer, you can file a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The agency can then investigate the workplace harassment, or you can choose to move forward with a sexual harassment lawsuit after obtaining a right to sue letter. When your employer knows about sexual harassment and fails to take adequate steps to stop it, you are entitled to pursue damages under California law.

Another critical point to remember is that you can lose your right to take legal action if you wait too long. In California, there are set time limits for filing a sexual harassment complaint. As a result, you should move quickly to consult with an attorney if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to your specific situation. At Erlich Law Firm, we can explain your legal options to you and determine whether it makes sense to file a sexual harassment lawsuit in your case.

Other Sexual Harassment FAQs:

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My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

- Jason Erlich

Client testimonials

Jason took the time to explain and guide me through the challenging process, and went the extra steps in consistently providing guidance and putting my concerns and questions high on their list.

Jeff V., Oakland

When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.

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