top of page

Harassment in The Workplace. A Guide For California Employees.

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

What is considered workplace harassment in California and how to report it.

In California, as in most states, harassment in the workplace may be a violation of the law. California law prohibits harassment of all kinds and requires employers to coach supervisors on the way to prevent and any kind of workplace harassment in California.

Under the CA Fair Employment and Housing Act, there are two kinds of harassment in the workplace: quid pro quo (literally, "something for something") harassment and hostile work environment harassment. A California Employment Attorney will help you assess your case.

sexual harassment lawyer

Workplace Harassment # 1: Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo harassment in the workplace happens when a supervisor, either expressly or impliedly, requires a subordinate to undergo sexual advances by threatening the subordinate with an adverse employment action, like a nasty review, demotion, or termination. For example, a supervisor has engaged in quid pro quo harassment by conditioning a promotion on the subordinate's agreement to go on a romantic date.

Quid pro quo harassment in the workplace happens when an employee in a position of authority who is using his or her position to require a subordinate to do something in exchange for a sexual favor.

Coworkers in the same position who demand sexual favors aren't engaging in quid pro quo harassment. However, they'll be creating a hostile work environment, as defined below.

Workplace Harassment # 2: Hostile Work Environment

The other type of workplace harassment under California law is named a hostile work environment. As opposed to quid pro quo harassment, any employee can create a hostile work environment. With this sort of harassment in the workplace, there doesn't get to be the threat of adverse employment action. Instead, the harasser engages in unwelcome conduct, supported sex, which creates a workplace that's intimidating, hostile, or offensive to an inexpensive person.

The conduct could be specifically targeted at a private, but it doesn't get to be. For instance, a coworker could create a hostile work environment by posting offensive or degrading photos. A hostile work environment claim must meet some requirements.

Based on Sex

While the stereotype of harassment may be a lecherous male employee subjecting a female employee to sexual innuendo or advances, workplace harassment covers a way wider range of conduct. Harassment includes any conduct supported "sex," which during this context means gender.

As a result, the conduct doesn't necessarily have to be sexual in nature to become Workplace Bullying in California. A good example is a well-known case in California where the court found that male workers on a construction company engaged in workplace harassment and created a hostile work environment for female counterparts by hiding their tools, calling them names, and otherwise bullying them due to their gender.

An employee doesn't need to be the direct target of the harassment to experience a hostile work environment. A male employee who witnesses another male employee engaging in sexually harassing conduct may have his own claim of hostile environment harassment.

Unwelcome Conduct

The conduct must even be considered unwelcome. However, "unwelcome" isn't an equivalent as "nonconsensual" under California harassment law. In other words, if the victim goes along with the harassment, the conduct remains considered Workplace Bullying in California if the employee found the conduct unwelcome. Many employees feel they need no choice but to "consent" to offensive conduct within the workplace for fear of losing their jobs.

An employee filing a harassment claim must have found the challenged conduct unwelcome; however, if an employee goes along and participates in such behavior such as telling sexual jokes, he or she risks

having their claim thrown out because it will be difficult to explain that they actually found that behavior unwelcome.

Offensive To Any Reasonable Individual

In addition to truly being unwelcome and offensive to the complaining employee (called the "subjective standard"), the alleged harassment must even be objectively offensive. This suggests that it must be of a kind that might have offended an inexpensive man or woman standing within the victim's shoes.

The "reasonable person" requirements takes into consideration the whole context of the victim's circumstances. If, for instance, the victim of harassment had previously suffered sexual abuse, and because of that, he or she is a lot more sensitive to certain situations. Her history of workplace harassment would be taken into consideration when deciding whether the conduct would be offensive to anyone else.

sexual harassment lawyer

Severe or Pervasive

The law defines workplace harassment in California as conduct that's either so severe approximately pervasive that it creates an abusive working environment. Under this definition, one severe act, like a physical assault, can amount to workplace harassment. However, more often, harassment is predicated on multiple acts occurring over time, like daily denigrating and insulting comments or jokes, which are pervasive enough to taint the workplace.

Employer Training Requirements To Avoid Workplace Harassment

California law requires larger companies to carry harassment training on a daily basis. Companies with 50 or more employees should offer two hours of workplace harassment training every two years to supervisory employees according to the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Employers must also train new management employees within six months of hire. Additionally, as of January 1, 2015, California requires employers to supply training on the way to prevent "abusive conduct." This training is meant to scale back bullying within the workplace that's not supported gender or another protected class (and therefore not illegal), but harmful to employees nonetheless.

If an employer fails to provide these training requirements, that fact could also be raised later during a harassment lawsuit to point out that the employer didn't take reasonable steps to stop and/or correct harassment.

This will affect the employer's defense of the harassment claim. More importantly, training can help avoid harassment in the workplace. This may not only create a more productive and happy workplace, it'll also reduce the probabilities of harassment lawsuits.

How To Find a California Workplace Harassment Lawyer

If you have experienced any type of harassment in the workplace, you must seek the advice of an employment attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible. So, reach out to Employment Law Firms in California to make sure your employment and personal rights are protected.

You can also get an unbiased lawyer referral 24 hours a day by submitting your request here. You'll get an answer within 5 minutes.

We pre-screen and monitor California Employment Attorney to make sure they are in good standing with the California State Bar and that they have all their continuing education and insurance requirements up to date.

Find a Workplace Harassment Lawyer, Free Consultation!

Related articles:


Best Lawyers Near Los Angeles

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

Welcome to, a Lawyer Referral and Information Service certified and approved by the California State Bar.

"Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals."


Unlike other services, we maintain complete independence from the lawyers receiving these referrals, ensuring transparency and fairness.

While we specialize in California employment law and personal injury claims, we offer our referral services for various other legal areas.


At, we aim to ensure you are connected with best California attorney near you who can provide comprehensive and exceptional representation for your specific legal needs.


We understand that every legal situation is unique and are dedicated to finding the best match for you.


With our extensive network of attorneys, we strive to deliver outstanding legal support and guidance tailored to your individual requirements.

At, we hold California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.


Your satisfaction and confidence in the legal representation you receive are paramount to us.


Rest assured that when you engage in our services, you can expect nothing less than exceptional legal support and guidance.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


Our team of experts verifies that attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here.


Our History 


Since 2005, we have been dedicated to helping individuals find reliable legal representation in California.


We understand the challenges people face when trying to locate reputable lawyers, especially when inundated with self-promoting advertisements and biased marketing from law firms.


At our service, we strive to cut through the noise and provide a trustworthy and unbiased platform for connecting individuals with reputable California lawyers.


Our clients receive quality legal representation without the frustration and uncertainty often associated with legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via email. We respond to email inquiries within 24 hours M-F. 

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 


Simple Retro Handyman Service Badge Logo-2.png
bottom of page