Sexual harassment laws in California have come under increased scrutiny in the past 12 months, which is why it is becoming difficult to keep up with all the recent changes to federal and state laws regulating sexual harassment claims.
If you are one of those 81 percent of American women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, then you know that being sexually harassed at work is no joke. But certain types of sexual harassment in the workplace can be more uncomfortable and annoying than others.
That male co-worker staring at you whenever you pass by his cubicle is not as serious as the employer invading your personal space or touching your private parts without your permission.
Filing a sexual harassment claim with the HR department vs. DFEH or EEOC
Given that California lawmakers keep strengthening and changing sexual harassment laws, our sexual harassment attorney Los Angeles often receives the following question, “How do I file a sexual harassment claim in California?”
After all, you have probably heard that filing a complaint within the company is the right way to go, while others encouraged you to go straight to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to file your sexual harassment claim.
So where should you go with your claim? This is the question we asked our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney at JML Law. Let’s find out now.
How to avoid a biased and unfair sexual harassment investigation
Generally, you are entitled to bring a claim if you can prove that sexual harassment created a hostile work environment. Read these six signs of a hostile work environment caused by sexual harassment.
Many of our readers complain that informing their supervisors and/or the human resources (HR) department about sexual harassment in the workplace has absolutely no effect and/or does not result in an internal investigation. More often than not, filing a claim with the DFEH is the only way to encourage a company to launch a fair and unbiased investigation into your particular case.
Cases in which the HR department was influenced by the harasser, especially when the harasser is the employer or any other influential figure within the company, which, in turn, resulted in a biased investigation or no investigation at all, are not unheard of.
Filing a sexual harassment claim with the DFEH
If you choose to file a claim with the DFEH, be warned that the complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged act of sexual misconduct at work. Failure to bring a claim within 12 months from the incident may result in the loss of your right to sue the harasser and recover damages.
While this does answer the question “How to file a sexual harassment claim?” many victims of sexual harassment have no idea what happens after the claim has been filed. Our lawyers from the sexual harassment attorney Los Angeles law firm explain that after the complaint has been filled, an investigator will be required to get in touch with the claimant (victim of sexual harassment) to clarify the facts of the claim.
Based on the information collected by the investigator, he or she will have to decide whether or not to launch an investigation. If the investigator chooses to open an investigation, he or she will be required to contact the victim’s employer and/or alleged harasser to hear their side of the story.
If the investigator fails to find evidence of a violation of the law, he/she will close the case. If the claimant’s allegations of sexual harassment are proven and credible, on the other hand, the investigator will invite both the claimant and defendant to attend mediation and reach a settlement. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution, the complaint will proceed to court.
Being represented by a sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California is highly recommended to ensure that your case is being investigated fairly. Contact JML Law to schedule a free consultation about your particular case. Call at 818-610-8800 for a free case evaluation today.