The City of Los Angeles has a Sexual Harassment Policy that is primarily established to protect individuals from sexual harassment, intimidation, and coercion. Under this policy, sexual harassment is labeled as unwelcome sexual advances, sexual requests, and other types of sexual conduct, such as verbal and non-verbal actions when:
- This conduct is explicitly or implicity affecting the individual’s employment.
- The conduct and its rejection is the basis for any adverse employment decisions taken, thus leaving a negative impact on the targeted individual.
- The conduct is interfering or harming the individual’s work environment and is creating a hostile work environment.
Employees are not only protected from other employees who are harassing them in the workplace, but they are also covered by those who are non-employees that are harassing them, as well.
The City of Los Angeles will be held liable for non-employee sexual harassment. Generally, any employee or non-employee that engages in implicit or explicit sexual behavior, whether it is verbal, non-verbal, or physical, that affects another individual’s performance in the work enviornment is guilty of sexual harassment.
Those with high-status, such as supervisors or managers, who are aware of sexual harassment occurring within their work environment are held liable and subject to disciplinary actions if they choose not to prevent it from continuing.
Consequences For An Alleged Harasser
It is required that immediate action must be taken to stop an alleged harasser, along with punishing him or her for the wrongful acts that they committed. Determining the most suitable actions to serve as punishment will be done in accordance with Policy 33, the Disciplinary Action of the Policies of the Personnel Department.
There are different Sexual Harassment Counselors that are distributed to different Department managers. Available information will be provided to employees regarding Counselor information, including their name, phone number, and location.
Filing A Complaint
It is required to file a complaint within one year from the date the incident occurred. The individual that chooses to file the complaint has the option of obtaining investigation services by the employee’s Department of Sexual Harassment Counselor, the Personnel Department’s Sexual Harassment Counselor, or State/Federal compliance agencies.
If the case is connected to issues referring to the complainant’s sex rather than being sexual in nature, the investigation will follow through under the City’s Discrimination Complaint procedure.
What Does the Department of Sexual Harassment Counselor Do?
There are a variety of activities that are performed under this position including:
- Meeting with the complainant once an appropriate date is set.
- Informing the complainant that they have the approval of bringing a representative to the meeting.
- Providing details regarding the City of Los Angeles’ sexual harassment policies and complaint procedures, along with answering any questions the complainant may have on this topic.
- Offer additional options.
- Notifying the complainant about the time frame for filing a complaint. More than one year later is considered untimely.
- An option for filing with an outside agency will be offered along with information on the time frame to proceed with this action.
- Carefully listening to what the complainant has to say.
- Asking questions to the complainant about what type of remedies they believe would help resolve the situation.
- Inform the complainant that there will be a substantial effort made to protect the confidentiality of the parties involved. However, the alleged harasser and the witnesses must be interviewed to properly commence the investigation.
- Documenting the complainant’s comments.
- Initiating an investigation, including interviews of other parties included.
- If the harassment is directed towards a non-employee, the Counsel will still conduct an investigation.
- If the situation took place during the time the non-employee was working at the facility, then the information provided will be sent to their employer for corrective action.
- If the situation took place during the time the non-employee was still unemployed — with no employer association — then steps will be taken to prevent any future contact or engagement. Security may potentially be added to protect the complainant.
- A report will be drafted regarding the investigation along with information indicating the findings on whether the allegations have been justified.
- Copies will be sent to management and the complainant.
- If the complainant is not content with the outcome of how the case was handled, the Counselor may notify them about their rights under the law, along with having them file under the City’s Discrimination Complaint procedure or State/Federal compliance agencies.
- Maintain documentation of the complaint and investigation, the resolution method chosen, and the complainant’s satisfaction level regarding how the case was handled. Completed documentation will be made available in the Personnel Department in case any additional investigation needs to be conducted or for auditing purposes.
What Does The Personnel Department’s Sexual Harassment Counselor Do?
- Available via phone to discuss sexual harassment issues with complaintants.
- Inform employees about the City of Los Angeles’ sexual harassment policies.
- Answer questions about the City’s policies and other options they can take advantage of.
- Inform complainant if they are within the acceptable time frame to file with an outside agency.
- Listen thoroughly to what the complainant is discussing with them.
- Ask the complaintaint if the department is aware of the allegations being mentioned, if any investigation was administered by the department, and what the outcome was of that particular investigation.
- Complainant will be asked if they would like the Counselor to go through with an informal investigation. They will then resolve the complaint without incorporating a formal investigative report, or lastly, open a formal investigation.
- If an informal attempt is requested, the Counselor will conduct preliminary efforts to resolve the complaint with the help of the Sexual Harassment Counselor. All actions will be recorded and the complainant will be notified about the final outcome of the informal investigation.
- If the complaintant is not content with the end result of the informal investigation, they are permitted to file a formal complaint using the City’s Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Other options are also available for the complainant, including filing with State or Federal compliance agencies.
What is the City’s Discrimination Complaint Procedure?
This procedure permits employees or job applicants to file a written complaint with the City’s Civil Service Commission. It is a requirement for the complaint to deal with a City action, procedure or practice when it comes to hiring that the employee or applicant insinuates is discriminatory. Complaints must be filed in a one year time frame from when the incident took place.
What Are The State And Federal Agencies?
Employees or applicants who believe they are victims of sexual harassment are given permission to file a complaint with State/Federal compliance agencies in State/Federal court. Limits of filing complaints with these compliance agencies are different, thus it is recommended for the complainant to consult with an experienced sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible.
What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The sexual harassment lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling sexual harassment cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a sexual harassment attorney in California, contact our office at (213) 927-3700