Perkins & Associates A Professional Law Corporation
Protect Your Rights, Call Today

Sacramento Sexual Harassment Law Blog

Sexual harassment lawsuit resolved in federal court

A hostile work environment caused by sexual harassment is something that no employee should have to deal with. In fact, that type of situation is against federal laws. One company recently found out just how seriously the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes claims of sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

The EEOC filed a case against VXI Global Solutions in federal court. That case was recently resolved when the court approved a settlement that included $600,000 for nine employees, three men and six women, as well as other terms.

Learn how to handle retaliation and wrongful termination

Facing a situation at work that makes you uncomfortable doesn't make doing your job easy. When that situation is something that is illegal, you might opt to speak out against it. In the case of sexual harassment, you might opt to file a complaint with the appropriate person in your company. In the case of illegal actions by your employer, such as federal law violations, you might opt to contact the appropriate agency to file a report. It is vital that you understand your what rights you have after you take action against the issues.

One important point that you have to understand is that you can't be subjected to retaliation or wrongful termination. This means that your employer can't fire you, demote you, or take other adverse actions against you because of the complaints you filed.

What are different examples of retaliation by an employer?

We have discussed a variety of issues related to employees filing complaints against employers. In almost every case, we have mentioned that employers can't retaliate against employees who file valid complaints against them. Retaliation is any adverse action by employers because of complaints about protected activities.

What are adverse actions?

When is a termination considered wrongful?

While many employers have the right to fire employees without any reason at all, there are some instances in which employers can't fire employees. Employees who are engaging in a protected activity can't be fired as a means of being retaliated against. If an employer does fire an employee as an adverse action for a protected activity, the employee can take legal action against the employer.

What are some of the protected activities?

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.

Our Office Location

Perkins & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation
300 Capitol Mall 
Suite 1800 
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-520-1417
Map & Directions