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Sacramento Sexual Harassment Law Blog

Work rewards shouldn't be based on sexual favors

Sexual harassment in any business can harm the company. In last week's post, we discussed how American Apparel is trying to stop the company's founder from being able to take the company back over. If you recall, sexual harassment complaints against the man were filed. The company took a stance against sexual harassment and ousted the man. Sadly, not all companies are willing to take such a firm stance.

The sad reality is that workers face sexual harassment on a daily basis. The sexual harassment can come from co-workers, supervisors and even clients. Just because sexual harassment is running rampant in our society doesn't mean that workers have to deal with these atrocious actions.

American Apparel files motions to keep founder from position

When a person is accused of sexual harassment, a company should take action to make sure that the sexual harassment doesn't continue. In the case of American Apparel, stopping complaints of sexual harassment meant board members had to oust the founder and chief executive officer of the company.

In June 2014, the board members voted to remove Dov Charney from his position with the company that he founded. The board noted that too many sexual harassment lawsuits had been filed against the man.

Retaliation against whistleblowers isn't lawful

In our previous blog post and in one a few weeks ago, we discussed some of the protections that whistleblowers have after they report violations of laws and policies. If you recall, we noted that you are protected under state and federal laws once you report violations. We understand that you might be dealing with difficult situations at work. We can help you learn which actions your employer takes are legal and which ones are illegal. From there, we can help you explore your options for making illegal actions stop.

When an employee reports an employer's violations, the employer might opt to retaliate against the employee. The employer can't legally retaliate against the employee. Cutting your pay, demoting you, firing you, switching you to a less desirable schedule and making your workplace hostile are some of the actions that employers might take that are illegal.

What adverse actions might be used against whistleblowers?

Employees often try to do what they can to ensure that their employer is a successful company. In some cases, the employees might be put in a position that makes them aware that the employer is acting in an illegal manner. That realization puts the employee at a crossroads of sorts. The employee has to either report the illegal actions or keep their mouth shut. If the employee options to report the actions, they might end up facing retaliatory actions from the employer; however, retaliation in response to whistleblowing is illegal.

What are some retaliatory actions that employers take against whistleblowers?

Retaliation isn't acceptable following sexual harassment claims

In our most recent post, we discussed the case of the bakery worker who is suing the former Santa Cruz mayor and her husband over claims of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and retaliation at the bakery the former mayor owns. If you recall, the alleged harasser was the former mayor's husband. We know that it is difficult to think about taking legal action against your employer; however, when you are being subjected to sexual harassment and become the victim of retaliation when you speak up against those unlawful actions, you might find it necessary.

We want you to know that retaliation because you speak up against sexual harassment isn't lawful. You can take action against your employer if your pay, duties, hours or other factors related to work change in a negative manner after you speak up about the harassment. There are state and federal laws that offer specific protections against retaliation.

Woman files lawsuit against former Santa Cruz mayor and husband

Employees should be safe at work; however, there are some instances in which employees are put in danger by the very people who should be working to protect them. This is the case when an employee is sexually harassed. Even if no physical harm comes to the person, the feelings of being violated and other emotional aspects of the events are often traumatic. A case involving a former Santa Cruz mayor and her husband highlight the horrible tragedy of sexual harassment.

The alleged sexual harassment occurred at Emily's Good Things to Eat from 2012 through May. A former employee has filed a lawsuit that lists the former mayor and her husband as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the man groped the victim, smelled her belongings, smelled her hair, touched her hair, gave unwanted kisses and licked her coffee cup.

Is retaliation because of a qui tam case legal?

We have discussed a variety of whistleblower issues on this blog. It might interest some of our readers to know that there are specific protections in place for certain groups of whistleblowers, such as those who are involved in qui tam actions.

What is a qui tam action?

Is all workplace harassment the same?

When you decide to work for a company, there are likely a few things that you considered when you accepted the job. One of the factors was likely that you wanted to earn money. Another factor might have been how you felt you would like working at the company. Once you start working for that company, you might discover that the environment isn't what you thought it would be. While that might be just a luck-of-the-draw occurrence, it might also be because you are the victim of some form of workplace harassment.

What is workplace harassment?

Female lifeguard alleges harassment, case finally settled

Some people who read our blog might remember the show "Baywatch" that starred Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff. That show made the life of a lifeguard in California look almost magical. It seems as though the lifeguards were always having fun and living a glamorous life. That, however, is far from reality, especially if you consider the case that was recently settled regarding a female lifeguard.

The lawsuit alleged that a female lifeguard was subjected to a hostile work environment and sexual harassment during her time with the lifeguard division of the Fire Department. The woman alleges that the sexual harassment began long before she joined the division when she was 19. She claims that a supervisor with the division tried to get her to leave school with him when she was only 14.

Contract workers are also protected against sexual harassment

Contract workers are often in an interesting place when it comes to what rights they have. For example, they may not have the right to take paid sick days. However, according to a court in California, they do have the same rights to be protected from sexual harassment that are given to any other types of employees.

The ruling was made when a contact worker said that she was harassed by a police officer. That officer was from Oceanside. The woman who was harassed -- she said it happened on a repeated basis -- was a phlebotomist, and she worked with the police when they needed to have blood drawn.

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