Sexual Harassment by Daniel Velton

Both California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act make it illegal for your employer to discriminate against employees based on their gender, which includes sexual harassment.

Generally, there are two categories of sexual harassment:

  1. “Quid Pro Quo” – quid pro quo occurs when a more senior manager or employee demands that you perform sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, obtaining a job or in exchange for some other workplace benefit.
  2. “Hostile Work Environment” – This is the more common type of sexual harassment seen in the workplace. Hostile work environment occurs when a supervisor or other employee makes sexually suggestive comments, gestures, advances, pictures, emails, texts, touch or humor that unreasonably interferes with work performance.

It should be noted that an employer can be held liable for failing to prevent this type of behavior, even if it comes from a non-employee customer or independent contractor. Likewise, it is a serious violation of the law for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting instances of sexual harassment, whether it be internal complaints to a manager or human resources or a complaint to an outside authority like the EEOC or DFEH. Therefore, if you are fired for complaining about sexual harassing behavior, you may have an additional claim for wrongful termination.

If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment, it is extremely important that you document the behavior and keep records such as emails, letters, text messages and the like. It is equally important that you immediately contact us to talk with an attorney and explore your rights and options going forward – especially how to initiate your company’s grievance process and be protected from retaliation. At Velton Zegelman, our sexual harassment attorneys have extensive experience litigating sexual harassment cases of all types. We offer free and confidential consultations to our clients and work primarily on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay us any fees unless and until we achieve a successful resolution of your lawsuit.

Although hostile working environment is often associated with sexual harassment, other protected categories can also form the basis of a valid claim, such as harassment based on race, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or medical condition. As long as the harassing activities, taken as a whole, are severe and pervasive enough to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment, your employer can be held liable for any damages you may have incurred, especially if you have been fired as a result. The first step is contacting our experienced sexual harassment attorneys at Velton Zegelman. If you are still employed, you should contact us before you decide to quit or do anything to permanently alter your employment situation. We can evaluate your case for free and provide useful advice that could save your job and preserve your rights.

Age Discrimination by Daniel Velton

It is unlawful in California for an employer to harass or discriminate against employees who are of 40 years of age or older. For example, employers cannot discharge or refuse to hire an employee solely because of his or her age. Therefore, retirement or pension plans that require retirement at a specified age are typically unenforceable. Employees with the desire and ability to work must be allowed to do so beyond any retirement date contained in any private pension or retirement plan.

In the usual case, a reasonable inference of age discrimination arises when the employee shows: (1) at the time of the adverse action he or she was 40 years of age or older, (2) an adverse employment action was taken against the employee, (3) at the time of the adverse action the employee was satisfactorily performing his or her job and (4) the employee was replaced in his position by a significantly younger person (except where a reduction in force is involved). It is not necessary to show that the elderly employee was replaced by a younger worker. It is enough that significantly younger individuals were retained in similar jobs, or were reassigned to positions for which the elderly employee was also qualified, or otherwise treated more favorably. Even if the economic climate justifies a reduction in force, downsizing alone is not necessarily a sufficient excuse for dismissal of age-protected workers.

If you have been terminated based on your age, contact an age discrimination attorney at Velton Zegelman to discuss your legal options.