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Is it legal for a State Employer & Union to railroad a victim of sexual harassment & continue to keep the harassers working?

Sacramento, CA |

I filed a complaint with the EEO and Security at my worksite, I also sent e-mails to my Union Rep & the head of the Union but was ignored & told to drop my sexual harassment claim. I have been laid-off for almost a year now while my harasser's continue to be supported by the Union & Employer. All of the information as well as the video footage of the sexual assault / harassment which was caught on camera by security is well documented, I have even sent all information to the DFEH & EEOC with no results. All I have now from EEOC is a right to sue letter. "Where is the Justice?" It seems like no one wants to do their job but yet still collect a paycheck for doing nothing.

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Attorney answers 3


I understand your frustration. Whenever there is an economic downturn and many people losing their jobs, there is an increase in discrimination claims and an increase in the problems union are faced with resolving. If you've been out of work DUE TO your complaints of sexual harassment, you are stuck between the same rock and hard place as so many others. Agencies such as the DFEH and EEOC are understaffed and underfunded. Local unions are underfunded and greatly rely on volunteer assistance.

Your best bet is to retain an attorney and to do so right away. If you already have a right-to-sue and have been out of work for almost one year, you have very little time in which to act.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

If you are having trouble finding an attorney for your case, there are several possibilities:

-- you are not looking in the right place for the right kind of attorney;
-- your case does not have as much value as you think; or
-- you are not presenting your case in a way that makes sense to the attorneys (note my suggestions above).

Employment attorneys want certain information right up front: the name of the defendant, the name of the employee; if the employee was fired (or denied reasonable accommodation, or laid off, or whatever the issue is, in five words or less); the date this happened; the reason the employer gave for whatever happened; how long the employee worked for the defendant; what job the employee did; how much the employee made; and any deadline.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *


It sounds like a lot was going on here and there needs to be a discussion in greater detail regarding the particular facts in your case. Without more information it is not possible to give an opinion about this. The best advice would be to set an appointment with an attorney who specializes in employment law and sexual harassment cases. Then after a thorough review of all of the facts, they can give you an opinion as to whether you have a viable claim, and what procedural steps you should take. Many attorneys handle these cases on a contingency percentage fee, taking a percentage of the recovery. In contingency fee arrangements, there are no hourly fees. In some states attorneys do not charge anything for an initial appointment to discuss your case but in others there is a reasonable fee charged to compensate the attorney for their time and advice. I would suggest that you begin your search for an attorney on this Avvo website. There is a tab "Find A Lawyer" on the home page of Avvo at that will help you find a lawyer in this practice area in your locale. Good luck!

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. I hope my information is helpful to you. If you think this post was a good answer, please click the "Good Answer" button below and/or designate my answer as the "BEST ANSWER". Thanks. This is a general response to a question for basic information and is not legal advice. Legal advice can only be given when all of the facts of your situation are discussed with a lawyer, which we have not done.. If you reside outside the State of Texas please understand that the laws may be different from the laws that I may cite in a my comment. This comment is not to be construed as legal advice to your particular situation because there are many factors that influence legal counseling- this is simply a comment. Response to an email does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison, P.C., nor any of its attorneys. If you send us an e-mail, or call us, and we do not already represent you, neither your e-mail inquiry nor telephone call will create an attorney-client relationship. E-mails cannot necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. Only entering into a written legal services contract with the Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison, P.C. will create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for one-on-one legal advice and you are urged to meet with an attorney and discuss your case, personally, with an attorney in the state in which you reside or your case occurred. Thank you. Kevin R. Madison. Visit our website at and Kevin Madison, Austin, Texas- representing injured persons in motor vehicle collision, truck and motorcucle accidents and representing victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, physical assaults, and representing victims of sexual exploitation committed by doctors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, clergy, counselors, priests, and rabbis. Visit our sexual harassment/sexual exploitation blog at


If you received a right to sue letter, you must initiate a civil action in court within a year of the date of the right to sue letter. You should immediately retain an experienced employment law attorney to assist you with this matter.

The California Employment Lawyers Association maintains a list of employment law attorneys who represent employees against employers. Follow the link to:

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer


Asker, the EEOC right-to-sue letter gives you 90 days to file a lawsuit but you might have one year to file. This is a confusing issue and an attorney must review your documents to understand what your time limits are.

A Melissa Johnson

A Melissa Johnson


Thank you for the clarification.

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