Sexual harassment is rampant in many workplace environments–even environments that should be considered “safe.” You should never have to be uncomfortable at work due to a coworker’s off-color jokes or continuing pursuit of you even after you’ve let them know that their behavior is making you uncomfortable. Unfortunately, getting rid of the negative behavior isn’t always that easy. When is it time to contact a lawyer to start working with you to resolve sexual harassment issues? This guide will help you decide.

Defining Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, in the eyes of the law, is defined asUnwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.” Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as simply indicating that you’ve been made uncomfortable because of someone’s comments. In order to qualify as sexual harassment, conduct must meet one of the following three categories:

If an action doesn’t meet one of these three categories, it’s not legally defined as sexual harassment. That means that hiring a lawyer for actions outside them won’t do you any good–and can turn into even more of a hassle than the behavior that’s bothering you. Note, however, that “unwelcome behavior” is a critical element of sexual harassment: if you’re made uncomfortable, it’s worth taking the steps necessary to make the behavior stop.

When Do You Draw the Line?

Your coworker thinks that it’s funny to make sexually-charged jokes every time he walks past your desk. Perhaps a manager disagrees with your sexual orientation and goes out of their way to make that obvious every time they’re around you. When is enough considered to be enough? Where do you draw the line between “just joking”–however obnoxious it might be–and a serious problem that requires legal intervention?

Are you experiencing a genuine problem with sexual harassment? Does the behavior either create an unreasonable strain on you in the workplace, prevent you from doing your job, or make you wonder whether or not your job could be on the line if you don’t fall in line?

Are you familiar with your company’s reporting policy? Most companies have a solid policy in place for reporting and dealing with sexual harassment. If your company is typically straightforward in their dealings with victims of harassment, it may not be worth the time to hire a lawyer. On the other hand, if your company often deals poorly with sexual harassment problems, hiring a lawyer can help you move through the process more smoothly.

Are you concerned that your rights won’t be protected? Some workplaces are better than others about protecting the rights of an employee who has experienced harassment in the workplace. If you’re worried that your workplace may favor the individual who is harassing you (perhaps, for example, they are in a management position or have been with the company longer), hiring a lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that your company follows the proper process for dealing with the issue.

Sexual harassment is a serious issue. It can quickly become frustrating, weigh you down, and make you feel as though your contributions aren’t appropriately valued in your workplace. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop harassment in its tracks. If you’re concerned about dealing with the problem alone, hiring a lawyer is a great way to make sure that you’ll have your concerns heard and that your problem will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

If you find yourself needing a sexual harassment layer, contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy today. We’ll work with you to ensure that you don’t have to endure harassment in the workplace any longer.

One Response

  1. It's interesting to learn that when it comes to sexual harassment it is important to make sure that before hiring an attorney one or all the three categories are met, such as the sexual conduct is strong enough to make you want to quit, it hinders productivity, and the actions create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment. I'd be sure to keep this in mind for future use if need be since today more and more women are reporting to have experienced sexual abuse. It's nice to learn that outside the media we can have a fighting chance with the help of sexual harassment attorneys. Thank you for the informative article about when to call a sexual harassment lawyer!

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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