Harassment Lawsuits and Sexual Harassment Cases
Harassment lawsuits and sexual harassment cases, and other cases of discrimination, whistleblowing, retaliation and wrongful termination face many challenges in the recent business climate. Often, employers, usually large employers and large corporations, employ arbitration clauses which require an employee to pursue arbitrations instead of lawsuits. Our firm never recommends arbitrations, because they are far more expensive and the arbitration system is skewed towards employers. In this regard, plaintiffs pay one filing fee (between $370 and $1,000) for the complaint, and $60 for each motion heard. The fees are the same even if the court hears and decides ten motions or tries the case for four weeks (other than jury fees). But in private arbitration, the arbitrator is paid by the hour, so an hour hearing costs an hour of fees, usually at least $450/hour.
In regards to harassment lawsuits and sexual harassment cases, California has some protections for those forced to arbitrate their claims. For example, an employer has to pay the costs of the arbitrator in employment disputes, otherwise the arbitration agreement or arbitration clause in an employment agreement can be deemed unenforceable. However, the conservative US Supreme Court has validated the mandatory arbitration of claims and so many of these claims must go to private arbitration. It is also the firm’s experience that since the arbitrator is a human being, and humans tend to be more favorable to the person paying them (often repeatedly over many arbitrations), bias has the potential to skew the results.
Our firm has successfully had multiple arbitration agreements or clauses deemed unenforceable, but the fact is that an employer with a careful arbitration clause or agreement can usually force the client into a private arbitration.
Harassment lawsuit claims most often involve sexual harassment cases, and here are some examples:
Having to accept sexual advances as a term or condition of the person’s employment. The pressure to accept the advance is not necessarily always stated clearly or overtly, but a court may conclude that employment was conditioned on accepting the advance, either from the circumstances or implied by conduct.
Employment decisions (such as promotion, work benefits, favorable evaluations, etc.) being decided on whether the employee accepts or rejects sexual advances or conduct.
Being subjected to offensive comments of a sexual nature (including sexual innuendo and comments, or sexually suggestive jokes, in some contexts), or to physical acts to which the employee did not consent (including unwanted touching, exhibition, showing sexual material, etc.).
Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors.
In harassment lawsuits, in addition to singular or repetitive acts against an individual, sexual harassment can be shown by a pervasive atmosphere at a place of employment targeting one particular sex or displaying general hostility to one sex, without regard to which sex the harasser(s) or victim(s) are.
For harassment lawsuits, a court will seek to determine whether the conduct of a sexual nature has either the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work performance. And the court will also seek to determine whether the conduct of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. The more the incidents, the more likely there is to be a determination of a hostile work environment. However, a single event, if severe enough, could also create a hostile work environment. An employer can’t avoid legal liability just because the employee didn’t complain about the harassment, or because the employer took other steps designed to discourage workplace harassment.
Often in harassment or sexual harassment lawsuits, how an employer acts in its investigation (i.e., if thorough and fair), or if it undertakes any investigation at all, may also affect the case.
Our firm has prevailed in diverse situations. In one case, a woman faced skepticism of her claim because she was obese. Undaunted, the firm noticed over 20 depositions and quickly determined that others were aware of the sexual harassment of this woman. She made a substantial recovery.
Other common complications in harassment and sexual harassment lawsuits occur when the person accused of the harassment or hostile action sues the accuser for defamation (a knowing falsehood about the person that holds the person up to ridicule and/or reputation damage). Therefore, a lawyer handling employment cases often has to also be familiar with defamation and libel laws as well.
If you have a case and possible lawsuit similar to these, contact Ken Ralidis at 213.251.5480 today to see how he can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have often obtained results for our clients that are 10-25 times what the initial offer was. Don’t just settle for any attorney that may not have the experience, or a big law firm that doesn’t have the time or resources for a case like yours. Reach out to Ken Ralidis for his experience and the personal attention he offers. We can help you win your case!