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Pasadena Employment Lawyers

How Long do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Complaint?


If you’ve experienced quid pro quo or hostile work environment sexual harassment at your job, you might be wondering how long you have to file a lawsuit. Depending on the type of complaint you’re filing, you could have as long as three years or as little as 180 days to submit it.

At Domb & Rauchwerger, our California sexual harassment lawyers understand how stressful it can be to move forward after experiencing sexually harassing behavior in the workplace. That’s why our team is here to explain the statute of limitations that applies to your case and help you get the justice you deserve.

Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint With the CRD

The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) protects the people of California from unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Before filing a lawsuit, you are required to first file a complaint with the CRD and obtain a right to sue letter.  You have three years from the last act of harassment to submit your complaint to the CRD and then an additional year to file your civil lawsuit after receiving your right to sue letter.

Contact Domb & Rauchwerger before you file a complaint with the CRD.  If the attorneys at Domb & Rauchwerger believe you have a case, they will file the complaint on your behalf to ensure that all the correct information is included, and they will obtain an immediate right to sue letter on your behalf so that they can proceed with filing your lawsuit in civil court or arbitration if you signed an arbitration agreement with your employer.

Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint With the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employees under Federal law from being sexually harassed.  It is very rare that an attorney or employee would file a claim with the EEOC as opposed to the CRD because the EEOC provides you significantly less time to file a complaint, and State laws are generally more favorable to employees than Federal law.  Employees only have 180 days from the last day that harassment occurred to submit a complaint to the EEOC.  We encourage you to contact Domb & Rauchwerger to find out if you have a claim for sexual harassment before filing a complaint with the EEOC on your own.

Filing a Complaint After Being Retaliated Against for Reporting Harassment

If your employer has retaliated against you for filing a sexual harassment complaint, you have the right to take action against them. An attorney can help you determine if the actions your employer has taken against you qualify as retaliation. To be legally classified as retaliation, your employer must have taken an adverse employment action against you because of the sexual harassment complaint you filed.

Examples of adverse actions include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Lowering your pay
  • Giving you a negative quarterly or yearly review
  • Relieving you of certain job duties
  • Taking away benefits

How a Sexual Harassment Attorney Can Help

An attorney from Domb & Rauchwerger can offer critical guidance that will make the difference between a failed case and the compensation you need to move past this challenging time in your career.

In addition to offering information on how long you have to file a complaint, a sexual harassment attorney can take the following actions on your behalf:

  • Collect evidence of your harassment, including messages, emails, witness testimony, and more
  • Analyze evidence and use it to construct a strong claim
  • Determine which financial remedies you’re owed and how much compensation you’re entitled to receive
  • Ensure the necessary paperwork is submitted in a timely manner
  • Fight for the outcome you need to replace financial losses and cope with emotional distress

Talk to an Attorney Before You Quit Your Job

If you’re experiencing sexual harassment at work, you might feel compelled to quit your job and remove yourself from the situation entirely. However, it may be in your best interest to keep working and speak to an attorney before you make any major career decisions.

While some sexual harassment victims may argue that their resignation qualified as constructive termination, meaning that the at-fault party’s actions effectively forced them to resign, this argument doesn’t apply to every situation. In fact, the bar for a resignation to be considered constructive termination is very high, making it unlikely that your case will qualify.

In situations like these, it’s best to play it safe and reach out to a lawyer before you leave your position. They’ll offer further guidance and determine what your best course of action is.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Sexual Harassment Attorney

Before fighting on behalf of workers, Zack Domb & Devin Rauchwerger were partners at an employment defense firm that protected Fortune 500 employers from sexual harassment, retaliation, and California employment discrimination claims. They are aware of all the strategies your employer’s legal team will use to combat your claim and can use their experience to stand up against them.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and get the trusted legal advocacy you need to get your life and career back on track. A lawyer from our team can advise you on how long you have to file a sexual harassment complaint and pursue the remedies you’re owed.

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