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Schimmel & Parks, APLC - Litigation
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Female employee claims volunteer committed sexual harassment

In the current national situation in which people who are facing sexual harassment are more willing to tell their story and seek justice, the basics of a California sexual harassment claim can be forgotten. For example, there might be a perception that the only people who can commit sexual harassment are those in a position of power over a subordinate or lower-level colleague. That is not the case. People who are on equal footing in the workplace, serve as contractors, are customers and volunteers can commit sexual harassment. For people who have been subjected to this treatment, a legal filing is a strategy to receive compensation.

An employee at a university medical center has filed a case asserting that the employer did not protect her when a volunteer committed several harassing acts and stalked her for longer than a year. The woman says that the man was a fundraising volunteer at the workplace. He began harassing her in 2017 and kissed her without her permission as she tried to push him away. She said that she was concerned about her safety when she told him she was not interested and the employer did nothing to help her. He followed her and stared at her.

She complained to numerous people at the workplace several times. A formal complaint was filed and there was an investigation, but no action was taken and she continues to feel unsafe at the workplace. After the sexual harassment claim, she says the workplace has ostracized her. In addition, a university investigator told her that she should just ignore it and act like it did not occur, saying she would experience more problems if she pursued it. She remains employed and it is not known if the volunteer is still there. The case is moving forward.

Being sexually harassed by anyone in the workplace can make it difficult if not outright impossible to go to work. Fear, intimidation, worry and more can come about and lead to the person experiencing personal, emotional and mental problems from this behavior. In some cases, the victim will be blamed and suffer sanctions or even lose the job. In others, they see no alternative but to quit. When dealing with this type of harassing behavior whether it involves touching, staring; obscene images and statements; asking for sexual favors in exchange for promotion and benefits and more, a legal filing should be considered. A law firm that has experience in helping people who have faced sexual harassment should be called for advice and representation.

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