What a terrible ordeal this must have been for you! I'm sorry you had to work under such offensive circumstances.
For information on sexual harassment under federal law and California law, please see my Avvo guide on sexual harassment: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-exactly-is-sexual-harassment-california-and-federal-law?published=true.
For information on the process of pursuing a charge of discrimination and sexual harassment, please look at my guide to unlawful discrimination: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=what-is-unlawful-employment-discrimination--california-law
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney. 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, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** 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 should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
Yes, you should certainly consult with an employment attorney if you've been terminated under the circumstances you described.
Environmental sexual harassment is unlawful when the unwelcome sexual conduct is either severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive environment. It sounds like such work environment may have existed for much of the 14.5 years. Both California and federal law both prohibit workplace sexual harassment. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act and federal Civil Rights Act of 1964).
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California only. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
You may have a wrongful termination and/or sexual harassment claim depending on much more facts than you present. Thus, you should discuss your detailed factual situation with a local experienced employment attorney. You should know though that simple verbal abuse unrelated to a protected classification (such as gender, race, age, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, etc.) are generally ok in an at will employment state even if unfair. The abuse has to be based on a protected classification. Also, sexual harassment cannot be an isolated incident. It has to be at least a few over a period of time according to the Supreme Court. You say you were given monetary benefits for the abuse. A key question to discuss with an attorney is whether you signed a release and whether it is enforceable if you did so sign a release. Also, as for the return to work after a disc replacement, you should inquire of an experienced local employment attorney regarding whether you had rights under the FMLA; however you mention a sole practioner so you may not have such rights as employers are covered only if they have 50 employees within a 75 mile raidius of where you are employed.
I am so, so sorry this happened to you. Sometimes, employers get so overly focused on running the business that they forget that their employers are real people with emotions and, often times, problems with their health or their home. I definitely agree with the other two attorneys - you should absolutely consult with a lawyer to discuss your options in bringing a claim against them. Let me know if I can be of help. Take care, Rabeh
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There are a variety of causes you can base your lawsuit in this matter. There are additional questions you will need to discuss with your attorney such as statute of limitations, if you filed a DFEH complaint, if you have any of the evidence you spoke of. You will need to privately discuss this matter with an attorney that is experienced in this field. I have four similar cases and readily available for your questions. Please call me as soon as possible and without delay.
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Employment law for businesses Business Criminal charges for harassment Employment Discrimination in the workplace Gender discrimination in the workplace Sexual harassment FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and employees Wrongful termination of employment Types of employment At-will employment Civil rights Gender discrimination Discrimination