How-Sexual-Abuse-Fosters-Culturally.jpg (2149×1159)It seems like today’s media climate, whether one is a Democrat, Independent, or Republican, is reflecting some out-dated viewpoints that favor a cultural viewpoint about dominance. Our political scandals involve apologizing for sexual harassment as “locker room talk” and hosts of media CEOs faced litigation for sexual harassment. When political leadership and their legal teams justify this disrespectful behavior to women (“most reported victims are women,” according to The Houston Chronicle), they create an attitude that this type of behavior is normal.

When behavior seems normalized, the general populace becomes desensitized to sexual harassment. Not only do women face pay inequity in the workplace, but their labor is further devalued when their superiors, or co-workers exploit their sexuality. The workplace is an environment where women have value for their mental capacity, not as some sort of sexual objects participating in the economy for sport. To view women as such and, furthermore, encroach upon them sexually without permission, invalidates them as human beings. It also causes psychological and physical trauma.

Employees don’t work to become the playthings of abusers, rather they are independent entities. They also have families to support, bills to pay, and other obligations, but too often those in leadership roles pretend this isn’t the case. In fact, those accused of sexual harassment “don’t see” their victims; they only think of selfishly violating someone to meet their needs. They often pretend that their position or power makes them “better than” someone else. Those accused of sexual harassment usually attempt to first speak poorly about the mental health of the woman involved.

But, that’s not going to work, anymore. There are so many women who experience sexual assault that it is ludicrous to deny its existence or problem. The sheer prevalence and improper response to it within the workplace is disturbing. This isn’t a country of mentally ill women (and men) hallucinating these experiences in such high numbers. On the contrary, it is very real, and very damaging.

Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in 2017

In a promotion connected to Crossing the Line, ABC News released a story chronicling women who faced sexual harassment.

Reporter Kaitlyn Folmer noted, ABC News gathered 10 women from 10 different industries who opened up about being sexually harassed. To protect the women, only their first names were used…. When asked how many of the participants have been sexually harassed over the course of their career, all 10 women raised their hands.

In other words, in every profession consulted, every woman asked admitted that they experienced sexual assault or harassment within the workplace! The abusers fit no particular industry profile, nor did the victims!

If you think that this group of women got pooled for the purpose of promoting a show, several other sources confirm its high occurrence. AWARE, The Association of Women for Action and Research, conducted a study of 500 individuals and found 54% of them experienced workplace harassment. In a recent article, Huffington Post cited a survey conducted in Cosmopolitan that revealed 1 in 3 respondents were victims of sexual harassment. Sexual assault attacks are ridiculously high, but not one person deserves it. Furthermore, every victim counts and suffers innumerable pain.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is an unwanted gesture, comment, touch, joke, or any number of behaviors that make an employee uncomfortable. Sexual harassment occurs online, offline, on work campuses, off work campuses, etc. With the pervasiveness of this type of demeaning conduct, one would think that there’s a variety of information about this topic at the office and how to get help. According to AWARE, that’s not the case, instead 66.6% of respondents don’t know who to consult and employer response is key. Employers have a duty to create policies prohibiting and penalizing sexual harassment as part of their agreement to provide safe workplace environs. However, they often leave these policies vague to make holding them liable more difficult.

How to Get Help Today

For all those who suffer from toxic HR departments that turn their eyes to harassment or when it’s high-ranking employees (like the Uber scandal), Aiman-Smith & Marcy is here to protect you and redress your complaint. We protect individuals against business entities and large corporations that don’t reward people for their hard-work, and don’t stand up for them when it counts (like with sexual harassment). Our partners and firm lawyers are happy to fight for you.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986