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What To Do If You Are Sexually Harassed

354px-Harvey_Weinstein_2010_Time_100_ShankboneGetting sexually harassed at the workplace can be an extremely traumatizing experience for anyone. It can affect your productivity, destroy your confidence, and eventually take a toll on your emotional health.

Sexual Harassment – The Elephant in the Room

Sexual harassment is way more pervasive at workplaces around the country than most people think. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, there are people everywhere who want to abuse their power and take advantage of those working for them.

In many cases, employees who are sexually harassed are hesitant to come forward and press charges, as they feel that it could cost them their job and affect their future job prospects significantly. The Harvey Weinstein scandals that recently broke out in Hollywood are a salient example of this phenomenon.

As you probably already know, a number of actresses have come out in the open against Weinstein and his history of sexually aggressive, inappropriate behavior. From A-list celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow to members of his own staff, a large number of women have been affected over a period of many years.

None of them, however, chose to expose Weinstein, who up until the scandal broke out was considered one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, because they feared that their careers would be at jeopardy. This is the most common theme in sexual harassment cases everywhere. Too bad national leaders, even top feminist moguls, even took money from him and supported him when they were out promoting women’s issues and speaking about ways in which society should protect women. But this is another topic.

The Specter of Career Suicide

Men like Weinstein can make or break careers in Hollywood with a phone call. So, it is completely understandable that these actresses were unwilling to expose him to the public. Doing so would have been career suicide and many of them cannot survive in the industry without having strong connections in the entertainment industry.

If you find yourself in such a situation, the first thing you need to know is that there is no need to put up with your boss or coworkers’ abusive behavior. California has strong laws against sexual harassment and you can sue your employer with the help of an experienced attorney.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in California?

The State of California criminalizes two types of sexual harassment – quid-pro-quo sexual harassment and sexual harassment that results in hostile working conditions.

Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment refers to cases where the employer demands sexual favors in return for a promotion or any other perk related to your employment. Some people call this the “couch interview”.

Hostile environment refers to cases where the employer turns the working conditions completely hostile with various forms of harassment – calling you names, sending you explicit texts and emails, cracking lewd jokes, or touching and groping you.

What to Do If You Are Sexually Harassed?

The sexual harassment laws in California strictly forbid employers to retaliate against or punish in any way the employees who file a sexual harassment complaint against the company. So report the problem to the Human Resources Department or any other appropriate department in your company. Communicate this out loud or in writing, so you can have a record of the situation that has taken place. Whether you work for a small business or a large company you can always turn to us for guidance on how to proceed.

Once you get in touch with us, we will work with you to find a permanent, legal solution to the problem. Calling us right away after the first incident is important. However, even if you have waited to act, do not hesitate to let us know about your circumstances, we know the law and will get to work on exercising your rights in order to protect you.

We at Makarem & Associates have many years of experience in dealing with sexual harassment related cases. We know how to collect and present the right kind of information to incriminate your employer and make sure you get compensated for the damages you suffered – economically and emotionally. So, if you are sexually harassed at your workplace and if you are not sure what to do, give us a call at 310.312.0299 or email us at info@makaremlaw.com.