Sexual harassment can be directed at employees of any gender or sexual orientation. Most commonly, we hear of male employers or managers who have made sexual advances on a female employee, but sexual harassment can also involve more complicated relationships between parties. In a recent case, an executive at Yahoo Mobile has been accused of making unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances against another female employee. The case was filed this summer by the former employee who had started at Yahoo in the fall of 2013.
The “quid pro quo” case centers on the unwanted sexual advances in exchange for employment benefits, alleged threats of adverse employment action, and eventually, termination. Our Orange County employment law attorneys are experienced in representing individuals who have been victimized by sexual harassment. We understand the immediate and long-term consequences that a sexual harassment incident or incidents can have for the victim. Our priority is helping you protect your rights and work towards a just resolution, either through settlement or verdict.
According to reports, the female worker was employed as a principal software engineer in the company and worked directly for the executive. The plaintiff says that the executive made sexual advances and promised her a “bright future” at the company if she agreed to have sex. Her boss also threatened to take her job and stock options away if she didn’t have sex. In addition to the sexual harassment claim, the employee is also filing for wrongful termination after she received poor performance reviews because she stopped having sex with the executive.
Victims of sexual harassment may not know what action to take immediately after or while sexual harassment is occurring. In this case, the employee had made formal complaints to the human resources department. The company allegedly failed to take any beneficial action on her behalf and instead put her on paid leave and then eliminated her position. Yahoo has been named one of the defendants in her case and is planning an aggressive defense against the claims. The executive has filed a counterclaim in this case alleging that the employee fabricated the entire story.
There are two forms of sexual harassment claims: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Where a hostile work environment claim is more common, it can be more difficult to prove. Quid pro quo cases are the most commonly recognized sexual harassment claims. A quid pro quo sexual harassment translates to “this for that” and generally means that the boss or employer made sexual advances and either offered conditional job benefits or was threatened with termination or other adverse job consequences.
In this case, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sex. Employers must take reasonable steps to stop and prevent sexual harassment. Despite the “quid pro quo” nature of this case, it may be difficult to prove, since the executive has denied all sexual contact. Still, even if there was a consensual relationship, the executive and Yahoo can be held liable since she was demoted. Sexual harassment cases can be challenging and involve competing sets of facts. Victims should consult with an experienced advocate to review their rights and options before making important employment or legal decisions.
Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with the help of the Nassiri Law Group. Call 949.375.4734.
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