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California Labor Laws On Workplace Sexual Harassment

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

A Quick Guide To Sexual Harassment In The Workplace In California


Sexual harassment in the workplace can severely affect a victims' capacity to work and live their lives. Not only are they suffering from the emotional effects of harassment, but they might also have to deal with the financial loss of being unable to work or function.


When this happens, victims have the right to file claims, assert their rights, and get compensation for the emotional and financial losses they suffer.


Here's how our prescreened California sexual harassment attorneys handle relevant cases:


What Are The Grounds For Sexual Harassment In California?


According to California sexual harassment law, the following constitutes a case of a hostile work environment resulting from sexual harassment:

  • Plaintiff is a member of a protected class

  • Plaintiff experienced unwanted sexual harassment

  • You reported the harassment

  • The level of the reported harassment was severe enough to change the terms of employment and create a hostile workplace.

Respondent superior (refers to the legal notion that holds your employer accountable for the actions of a subordinate) can apply depending on the specific case.


That said, it's crucial to identify liability in these specific employment law claims. If you don't know who might be responsible (or who to file lawsuits against), consult Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys to assess your unique claim. They know their way around California sexual harassment law and can advise on your legal options.


Is Sexual Harassment A Form Of Discrimination?

Sexual harassment is often considered a form of sex or gender discrimination in California. However, regardless of the root cause, an act is considered harassment if it's a repeated unwanted action that makes it hard for an employee to do their job or creates a hostile work environment in California.

If you've been harassed at work, you should contact a prescreened California workplace sexual harassment attorney to assess your claim.


workplace sexual harassment attorney california

What Constitutes Harassment In California?

According to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of California, an employer is strictly accountable for any sexual harassment committed by a supervisor. In addition, an employee who harasses another employee may be held personally liable. This means that if a coworker who is also your equal sexually harasses you, they could face personal liability.

The employer, however, may be held strictly accountable if the employee is your manager or superior. The imposition of accountability on a party without a finding of fault is known as strict liability (such as negligence or tortious intent). The claimant needs to show that there was sexual harassment and that the employer was at fault.


That said, gathering evidence might be troublesome when dealing with these kinds of cases. However, know that you can request employee records to use as evidence. If you can't do that for any reason, a California workplace sexual harassment attorneys can do the independent investigation for you.

What Laws Apply To Sexual Harassment In The California Workplace?


According to rules published in 1980 by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), "sexual harassment" is a type of sex discrimination forbidden by Title VII. According to the recommendations, sexual harassment may manifest as either of the following:

  • A financial "quid pro quo" in which a worker's submission to sexual behavior is connected to the provision or withholding of workplace rewards, such as getting or keeping a job, getting a good performance review, or getting promoted.

  • When sexual behavior has the intention or result of unfairly impeding an employee's ability to execute their job duties or establishing an intimidating, hostile, or unpleasant work environment, it is referred to as generating a "hostile environment." A hostile work environment can be created by, for instance, the following behaviors:

    • Unwanted sexual contact, including violence

    • Blocking or close occupation of a person's environment in an intimidating manner

    • Explicit or offensive digital or print images

    • Stalking actions, such as persistently requesting dates or after-work meetings

    • Digitally or otherwise, written communications that are offensive

    • Crude humor or derogatory remarks concerning a person's physical appearance or gender in general

    • Showing off sexual behavior or things

    • Leering

Although quid pro quo harassment is seen as a form of FEHA harassment, California courts have accepted the same distinction for FEHA harassment claims.


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1000Attorneys.com is an established online Lawyer Referral Service that refers you to a workplace sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles (and other cities!). Contact us on our 24/7 lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999 or complete our inquiry submission form for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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