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Sexual Harassment by Persistent Leering or Staring
Sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is a federal law, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). It can take many different forms. Most people think of physical touching or verbal sexual advances when they think of sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment by persistent leering or staring may also be actionable. If you are facing this type of sexual harassment, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages, depending on the circumstances. You should consult the Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at the Kokozian Law Firm.Sexual Harassment by Persistent Leering or Staring
In most cases, FEHA provides stronger protections against sexual harassment than federal law does. FEHA forbids sexual harassment even if an employer has just one employee. Any employer that sexually harasses an employee or job applicant can face liability under FEHA. Damages are not capped. Sexual harassment can include a wide range of misconduct, including inappropriate touching, assault, sexual advances, verbal remarks, graphics, memes, jokes, or pranks.
Persistent leering or staring may be sexual harassment in and of itself, or it may constitute evidence that tends to support other forms of sexual harassment. Not all looking counts as “leering” or “staring.” Leering may include not only the movement of the eyes but also facial expressions suggesting sexual interest. Staring indicates that the gaze is persistent. The direction of the gaze will indicate whether a look should be considered leering or staring. When someone’s eyes are fixed on breasts, buttocks, or genitalia, the leer or stare is more likely to be treated as sexual harassment.
Often, leering or staring accompanies other gestures or behaviors. Looking at someone up and down suggests that the look is actionable sexual harassment. Similarly, lewd gestures suggest that leering or staring is sexual in nature. When leering is accompanied by catcalling or whistling, it is also likely to be sexual. If someone stares or leers at you while blocking your way or following you around, this also suggests actionable sexual harassment.
In one case, a forklift operator asked the plaintiff for a date multiple times, told her about his sexual fantasies of her, and made sexual comments, and when she rejected and reported him, he began a campaign of staring at her. In one instance, he drove past her workstation, holding his crotch while staring at her. The court determined that whether this was sexual harassment was a question for the jury and was not appropriate for summary adjudication. If you are disturbed by leering or staring, you should consult an attorney about whether it constitutes sexual harassment under Title VII or FEHA.The Fair Employment and Housing Act
Although they are similar, FEHA is generally more protective than Title VII. Damages are not capped under FEHA. Many courts divide sexual harassment into two types: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. The former exists when continued employment is conditioned on submitting to sexual advances. For example, if your manager keeps leering at you and says that you should not complain if you want to keep your job, this may be actionable sexual harassment. Hostile work environment harassment occurs if the workplace is permeated with discrimination that is severe or pervasive enough to change the conditions of employment. If, for example, your coworker leers at you and stares at your breasts every other day, and you let him know that the attention is unwelcome and report the matter to HR, yet HR does nothing, this may be actionable sexual harassment.Damages
If you can establish your employer’s liability for sexual harassment, you can recover compensatory damages. Damages can include front pay, back pay, benefits, and medical expenses. You can also recover emotional distress damages; the amount will depend on the jury’s impression of the emotional distress that arose from the sexual harassment. If you were subject to retaliation for reporting the leering or staring, it may be possible to obtain injunctive relief, which could include an order reinstating you in your job if you were terminated or returning you to your prior position if you were demoted. If there was especially egregious misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded.Retain the Top Sexual Harassment Attorney in Los Angeles
If you were a victim of sexual harassment by persistent leering or staring, you should consult our attorneys. At the Kokozian Law Firm, we fight for victims of sexual harassment. Our employment lawyers represent people in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.