If you were the target of sexual harassment, you might have felt powerless and experienced significant emotional distress. Although your perpetrator might think they were not out of line, the law clearly states they had no right to subject you to this egregious behavior. As a result, you might be entitled to compensation for the losses you suffered and their blatant disregard for your well-being.
At Greenberg Gross, our Fresno sexual harassment lawyers represent people who experience unlawful sexual harassment. We are fiercely committed to protecting your rights and fighting for the financial justice you deserve. You can reach out to us today to learn more about your legal options during a free consultation.
How do I Know I Have Been Sexually Harassed and Need a Lawyer’s Help?
In some cases, it might be challenging to determine if you’ve been sexually harassed. Not all forms of sexual harassment are physical or apparent. Sexual harassment can include many types of unwanted and unsolicited sexual visual, verbal, or physical misconduct, such as the following:
- Quid pro quo or “this for that” requests for sexual favors in exchange for certain benefits
- Threats of retaliation if sexual demands are not met
- Making any unwanted sexual advances or proposals
- Sending sexually suggestive notes, letters, emails, or texts
- Sharing or exhibiting sexually provocative pictures, websites, or objects
- Using inappropriate language and comments, including lewd, degrading, or humiliating remarks or innuendos
- Leering and sexual gestures
- Stalking, intimidating, or eliciting fear
- Unwanted touching or invasion of personal space
- Sexual assault and other physical misconduct
The above examples are not all-inclusive. You may have experienced other forms of sexual harassment that may warrant filing a lawsuit. In addition to the perpetrator, you may be able to file claims against a business, institution, or other liable parties that encouraged harassment or failed to keep you safe.
Our Fresno sexual harassment attorney can help you identify parties that might be liable for compensating you based on the unique circumstances of your case.
Does Sexual Harassment Have to Be Based on Sexual Desire?
Sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be based on sexual desire or interest. Per the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), sexual harassment can include unwanted acts or comments referring to another person’s race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, etc.
Therefore, to prevail in a civil claim, you need not prove that sexual desire motivated sexual comments and acts, only that they were unwelcome and that the harassment itself was based on any of the statuses mentioned above.
What Damages Are Available in a Fresno Sexual Harassment Case?
Being awarded compensation cannot erase the emotional distress or trauma you’ve experienced. Still, it can provide some sense of justice and reimburse you for financial and personal losses you’ve suffered. Our Fresno sexual harassment lawyer may be able to secure several types of damages on your behalf, such as the following:
- Medical bills, including those related to physical assault, psychotherapy, counseling, and medication
- Loss of past and future income due to time needed for emotional recovery
- Physical pain and suffering from assaults or injuries
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Punitive damages for actions considered malice, fraud, or oppression
The award you might be able to receive for your Fresno sexual harassment case could help you move forward, reclaim your life, and put your traumatic experience behind you.
Proving Liability in a Fresno Sexual Harassment Case
Before initiating a sexual harassment claim, you and your attorney must prove the following elements:
Duty of Care
A duty of care is a legal or ethical obligation to others to avoid actions or omissions that might cause them harm. For example, the perpetrator of your sexual harassment owes you a duty not to engage in behavior that compromises your physical and emotional well-being.
Breach of Duty of Care
A breach is a failure to uphold the duty of care another owes to you. It can be characterized by any form of harassment, discrimination, or misconduct that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. For example, religious institutions that allowed their clergy to engage in sexual harassment have failed to protect their parishioners from harm.
Causation for Injuries and Losses
You and your attorney must establish a causal link or nexus between a party’s breach of duty and your harassment, injuries, and losses. For example, if an instructor at a school harassed you, you must show your emotional injuries were a direct result of this person’s wrongdoing.
Finally, you must show you suffered quantifiable losses due to the harasser’s misconduct and your injuries. For example, if you incurred extensive bills for psychotherapy to treat your mental trauma, this would be considered a loss and qualify for compensation.
If your attorney believes you can legally prove all the above elements by a preponderance of the evidence, you likely have solid grounds for a lawsuit. Of note, if your harassment was an isolated event, you should be able to show the incident was unmistakable and severe. Conversely, if you were a target in a hostile environment, the harassment must have been prevalent and ongoing.
Street Harassment: Common and Underreported
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), street harassment is “unwanted comments, gestures, or acts directed at someone in a public space without their consent.” It commonly includes unsolicited commenting on others’ physical appearances, intentionally invading another’s space, whistling, catcalling, leering, and more.
In a national survey Stop Street Harassment commissioned, nearly two-thirds (65%) of all women reported experiencing street harassment. In addition, almost 25% had been touched sexually, and 20% had been followed. While 25% of men reported street harassment, more people who identified as LGBTQ+ than heterosexuals were reflected in this portion.
Call Us Today About Help from a Fresno Sexual Harassment Attorney
At Greenberg Gross, we are ready to hear your story and help you determine who may be liable for your harassment, injuries, and losses. Additionally, we can identify your losses, calculate their value, and pursue the compensation you are owed from liable parties.
We believe you deserve justice and are entitled to some form of compensation for having to endure sexual harassment. Please contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation and learn more about your rights and legal options.