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 www.cela.org. 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 www.avvo.com that will help you find a lawyer in this practice area in your locale. Good luck!
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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: www.cela.org.