Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Employment Attorneys Advocating for Residents of Los Angeles

Many people do not realize that sexual harassment can be same-sex sexual harassment, and showing sexual harassment does not depend on showing the sexual desire of the harasser. Often, sexual harassment occurs for other reasons, such as bigotry, cruelty, or simply the amusement of the harasser. The key issue in same-sex sexual harassment cases under federal and state laws is whether the harassment was because of sex. If you are a victim of same-sex sexual harassment, you should consult the Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys at the Nourmand Law Firm.

Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). However, same-sex sexual harassment can be complicated under Title VII because Title VII does not expressly prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. There can be confusion about whether acts constitute same-sex sexual harassment, which is actionable under Title VII, or sexual orientation discrimination, whose status under federal law is more ambiguous and depends on how the court interprets Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination.

There is usually greater protection under FEHA than under Title VII. You do not need to show that the harasser or perpetrator desired you in order to bring a same-sex sexual harassment claim under FEHA. Instead, the issue is whether the workplace harassment was because of your sex.

Your employment attorney will need to prove that you were subject to unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or conduct, this harassment was based on sex, and the harassment was severe or pervasive enough to alter the employment conditions and create an abusive work environment.

Harassment based on sex may be proven or inferred in a more straightforward way in a male-female sexual harassment scenario that involves explicit sexual proposals, as well as a situation in which a harasser is openly homosexual or bisexual. However, you need not prove the sexual orientation of either the perpetrator or the victim to establish same-sex sexual harassment under FEHA.

For example, if you are a woman who is harassed in derogatory and sexual terms by another woman that make it clear that the perpetrator is harassing you due to hostility to the presence of women in the workplace, there may be same-sex sexual harassment. It does not matter if the perpetrator is heterosexual or married. Proof of bias or hostility may also be made by showing how the perpetrator treated other people in the workplace.

It can be uncomfortable to tell a harasser to stop. Confrontation is not easy. However, you should confront a harasser to make it clear that the conduct is unwelcome. You should also follow any grievance procedures outlined in your employment handbook. This may involve providing written notice to HR. Your employer should look into your claim of same-sex sexual harassment and take appropriate, timely steps to correct the situation. Unfortunately, some employers have an improper response and retaliate against an employee.

To show retaliation, you will need to show that you engaged in the protected activity of complaining in good faith about same-sex sexual harassment, that your employer took an adverse employment action against you due to your protected activity, and that the employer's actions caused your harm.

In one case, for example, a heterosexual male alleged that his male supervisor sexually harassed him, but the lower court ruled against him. The supervisor had given the plaintiff 30 gifts (including underwear) in less than a year, showed him porn during work hours, and asked him why he had not kissed him. An appellate court reversed in favor of the plaintiff, explaining that there can be evidence of sexual harassment when there are sexual comments that are designed to humiliate the plaintiff and challenge his gender identity, or that reflect hostility to the presence of men in the workplace.

Seek Advice from a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you need to sue for same-sex sexual harassment, the Nourmand Law Firm is ready to represent you. Our attorneys offer tenacious legal representation to workers who have been harmed in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and other areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form.

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