Sexual harassment is specifically prohibited in workplaces in California and throughout the United States. Unfortunately, as too many employees know, these laws do not stop this conduct from occurring on a regular basis.
Every situation involving sexual harassment is different, and there are two specific types of harassment recognized under the law:
Quid pro quo – An authority figure makes sexual advances, and either threatens adverse employment action if you refuse or promises employment benefits if you agree.
Hostile work environment – Anyone involved with your employer (including coworkers, clients, or supervisors) engages in harassing conduct that is offensive or pervasive enough to create what a reasonable person would consider to be a hostile work environment.
Either of these situations can be disturbing and traumatic, and many employees find little help from their employers. Either employers try to defend the accused harassers or sweep the problem under the rug to avoid conflict. This can only add to the stress and trauma of the harassed employee.
What Happens if You Quit Your Job?
There are different scenarios that involve sexual harassment and lead employees to quit their jobs. Some of these include:
- Your employer does not respond to complaints of harassment and allows the hostile work environment to continue. The situation becomes so unbearable that you quit your job.
- Your boss makes sexual advances, and you no longer feel comfortable working with them, or you expect them to fire you, so you quit your job.
Too many employees who quit their jobs believe they no longer have the right to bring a sexual harassment claim against that employer. Fortunately, this is not the case, as the law allows employees who quit due to harassment to seek legal relief from their former employers.
What is Constructive Discharge?
If you quit your job, your employer might assert that quitting was your choice (based on at-will employment) and that there should be no further liability of the company. However, in many situations, quitting your job under these circumstances constitutes constructive discharge.
Constructive discharge can be a form of adverse employment action and wrongful termination by your employer. Even though you are technically the one who left the job, you did so because your employer created or allowed a situation that was unbearable for you. For this reason, it is considered to be an act of your employer and not of the employee who felt forced to quit.
If you quit your job due to an unbearable work environment stemming from sexual harassment, you should not wait to contact a California sexual harassment attorney. The right law firm can help you file the right claims to seek recovery for your losses. Legal relief can include some or all of the following, depending on your situation:
- Back pay and lost benefits
- Reinstatement to your job
- Damages for emotional distress
- Changes to company policies to prevent sexual harassment
Just because you quit your job does not mean you do not have important rights.