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California Sexual Assault Victim Attorney

sexual assault at work

Navruz Avloni is a compassionate advocate, and experienced trial lawyer, dedicated to providing legal support to folks who have been impacted by sexual assault. If you, a family member, or a loved one have experienced sexual violence and are looking for an attorney who will be on your side, reach out to Avloni Law.

For a variety of reasons, including stigma, fear, and shame, sexual violence is notoriously under-reported. Despite this fact, statistics show that sexual violence occurs at a high rate. According to a California focused study, over 86% of women and 53% of men in California report having experienced some form of sexual harassment or sexual assault in their lifetime. Nationally reported statistics are similar. Members of marginalized groups, women, members of the LGBTQIA community, immigrants, and people of color, experience sexual violence at elevated rates.

However, sexual violence is ubiquitous and impacts individuals of all backgrounds and identities. Many survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment blame themselves for their own assault or mistreatment. If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, and feel this way, you are not alone. If you are a victim of sexual assault or sexual harassment, we know that you are not the cause; the fault lies with the perpetrator.

At Avloni Law, we bring empathy to our attorney-client relationship. We understand that sexual assault and or harassment can be incredibly traumatizing and can cause significant emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, for the survivor. As such, we work with our clients to provide legal advice and support in a way that considers our clients’ emotional needs. We pledge to assist in every way that we can, and to provide our clients with referrals to other support and advocacy resources beyond our legal capacity when needed.

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sexual assault at the workplace

What is the difference between sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual violence

Sexual harassment includes behaviors such as unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct that is sexual in nature. Conduct legally qualifies as sexual harassment under California civil law if is sufficiently severe or pervasive; causing the victim of the harassment legitimate offence, humiliation, or distress to the point that it impacts their personal sense of wellbeing, or their ability to perform. If the harassment occurs in the workplace, the harassment may be a violation of California and federal labor laws.

Sexual assault refers to non-consensual physical, sexual contact. There are many types of sexual assault, but sexual assault may include physical force, violence, and or ignoring the objections of the other person. Assault may also occur when a party is unable to give consent, either because of age, intoxication, pressure of intimidation or threat, or an unequal power dynamic. For example, engaging in sex with an employee or student may mean that consent cannot freely be given. The term sexual assault typically refers to an isolated incident.

Sexual abuse typically (but not always) refers to repetitive non-consensual sexual acts or incidents of harassment that continue to occur over a longer period of time. Sexual abuse also tends to describe an act of assault or harassment committed against a vulnerable person by somebody in a position of power and or perceived authority. Sexual abuse might occur for example between a child and an adult, or to a person with intellectual disabilities.

Sexual violence  is an umbrella term describing non-consensual, sex crimes, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and more. Sexual violence can refer to physical violence, but can also refer to psychological harm.

What is Consent?

Consent is the active, affirmative agreement of one party to agree to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be given by each participant, and must be given freely, without coercion, force, threats, of intimidation of any kind. Consent cannot be given when one is intoxicated or unconscious.

Consent is also, importantly, revocable. Consent on one occasion does not imply consent on future occasion. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not transfer to other form of sexual activity. The practice of giving and receiving consent must be ongoing, even in long-term and committed relationships.

Sexual violence is Illegal.

Federal and State law prohibit sexual violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The law protects victims from all forms of sexual abuse, regardless of where the crime takes place. Survivors of sexual violence may be able to bring civil and criminal charges against their abuser.

If sexual violence occurs in the workplace, at school, or on a campus, it may be considered sexual harassment, and survivors of the harassment may be able to bring a civil lawsuit. Federal and State Law prohibit sexual harassment if the behavior is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to cause the victim of the harassment legitimate offense, humiliation, or distress to the point that it impacts their personal sense of wellbeing, or their ability to perform their work.

The ability to bring legal claims will vary depending on the circumstances and nature of the violence. The statute of limitations on a claim is also dependent on the nature of the claims.

Federal Law, 10 U.S. Code 920 – Article 120 makes sexual assault of any kind illegal. The statute of limitations to bring a criminal case for sexual assault claims against a perpetrator depend on state law. In California, under Penal Code Section 799(b)(1), sexual assault has no statute of limitations for purposes of prosecuting the criminal offense, provided the assault occurred after January 1, 2017. By pursuing criminal prosecution, crime victims can achieve some form of justice through the criminal justice system.

The Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Under Federal law, sexual harassment victims have 180 days from that last occurrence of the harassment to file a claim with the EEOC. Federal employees have 45 days to report an assault to the EEO. States have their own laws regarding sexual harassment. In California, under the California Civil Rights Department (CCRD), victims of sexual harassment in the workplace have up to three years to bring a civil case for sexual harassment. Survivors of childhood sex abuse in California likewise have until their 40th birthday to bring civil claims against their abuser. Crime victims may receive financial compensation, including emotional distress damages, and recoverable medical expenses, if they bring a civil lawsuit.

It is important to speak to an employment attorney in order to understand your rights, criminal claims, civil claims, legal options, and to determine any pending statutes of limitations.

sexual assault at the workplace
impacts of sexual harassment

What to do if you are a survivor of sexual violence, assault, or harassment?

Above all else, take care of your own well-being and safety. If you are in immediate danger or need medical attention, contact law enforcement or visit a medical center.

If you have experienced sexual violence, assault, or harassment, contact the police to make a report. If the behavior occurs at work, you may also make a report to somebody at the company that you trust; a supervisor, manager, human resources.

impacts of sexual harassment

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is generally defined as sexual contact that occurs without consent. There may be a lack of consent because the survivor resisted the contact or because the survivor was unable to give consent. Anyone, regardless of sex or gender, can be the victim of sexual assault, and anyone, regardless of sex or gender, can be an assailant.

Sexual assault is a crime. In cases of sexual assault, criminal charges may be brought by the government against the perpetrator. If you are a survivor of a sexual assault or feel that you are in danger, do not hesitate to call 911 for assistance. Your immediate safety is the priority.

Sexual Assault at Work

If sexual assault occurs at work (or at a work-related event), the survivor may bring a civil case against the employer and/or the assailant for sexual harassment.

Under both federal law and California employment law, employers are responsible for creating a work environment free of any sexual harassment, including sexual assault. Your employer can be held accountable for sexual assault if the assailant was a supervisor or manager at the workplace, or if the employer failed to provide a safe working environment by failing to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.

The law also protects employees who report sexual assault at work. If you report a sexual assault to your employer, resist sexual assault in the workplace, or participate as a witness in a sexual assault complaint, your employer may not treat you unfavorable as a result. If your employer has treated you differently because you reported or resisting any form of sexual assault, your employer may be liable for retaliation.

If You Are Experiencing Privacy Violation At Work

If you have experienced sexual assault at work, you may be entitled to compensation, including emotional distress and punitive damages under federal and state laws. Take the following steps to support your case:

Save Evidence: Record all relevant events or interactions in writing. Save related notes and documents. If you have reported the assault to a therapist, a friend, family member, or other confidant, make note.

Report the Assault: If or when you can, reach out to the police if you feel unsafe or if you have been assaulted. If you are comfortable, you may report the sexual assault to your employer. In order to bring a civil lawsuit for damages, you may file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within three years of the assault. After you file an administrative complaint, you may receive a right to sue, at which point you will have 90 days to file a complaint in state court.

Find an Attorney: Reach out to an employment attorney. At any point in this process, whether you are currently experiencing harassment, have reported harassment to your employer, filed a charge of harassment with the EEOC or CCRD, an attorney will be able to help you navigate this process and advocate for you.

Navruz Avloni is an employment attorney dedicated to fighting for your right to a workplace free of unlawful sexual harassment. Click here schedule a free consultation with Navruz Avloni.

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