Alicia Olivares is an experienced and nationally recognized litigator who has been active in the #MeToo movement and has successfully represented victims of sexual harassment and obtained life changing results for them. Ms. Olivares has litigated against some of the most prominent and powerful perpetrators of sexual harassment, including Hollywood producers, music producers, athletes, movie studios and Fortune 500 companies.
1. “Quid Pro Quo” -In Latin, quid pro quo means “this for that.” This type of sexual harassment occurs when a job benefit is directly tied to an employee submitting to unwelcome sexual advances. For example, a supervisor promises an employee a raise if she will go out on a date with him, or tells an employee she will be fired if she doesn’t sleep with him, or withholds job benefits (work assignments, favorable shifts, better hours, preferable accounts) until the employee submits to the unwelcome sexual advances.
2. Hostile Work Environment – “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subject to unwelcome advances, sexual innuendos, or offensive gender-related language that is sufficiently severe or pervasive from the perspective of a reasonable person. Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.
3. Paramour Favoritism: What if your supervisor is favoring his/her sexual partner? California law protects you. “Widespread” sexual favoritism in the workplace arising from a consensual sexual relationship between a supervisor and one or more subordinates (sometimes referred to as “paramours”) may create actionable sexual harassment on the part of the other coworkers under a “hostile work environment” theory.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Under California law, the offensive conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire, but may be based upon an employee’s actual or perceived sex or gender-identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. The following is a partial list of prohibited behavior:
The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor’s harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.
If you are experiencing harassment in the workplace, know that you have options and Olivares Law, APC is here to help you. Contact OLIVARES LAW, APC today for a free consultation.