How Sexual Harassment Affects The Workplace

Updated: Jan 27

Workplace Sexual Harassment In California And Your Legal Options

Hostile working environments can cause distress, sometimes to the point of driving the target of the hostility out of the company. One of the causes of such hostile working environments is sexual harassment, which can go unnoticed without proper guidelines and punishments.


That said, there are protections for employees in California. This post will talk about employee rights, such as their right to complain and file claims for sexual harassment in the workplace.


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What Exactly Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is defined as a form of sex discrimination. Additionally, California has similar statutes that provide employees even more rights.

Sexual harassment is defined by the law as a wide range of undesired actions or behaviors that have a negative impact on an employee's working environment.

The majority of sexual harassment accusations in the workplace fall into one of two categories:

  • Quid Pro Quo. In Latin, quid pro quo meaning "anything for something." In general, it refers to a form of sexual harassment in which an employee is encouraged to engage in any type of sexual act in exchange for a promotion, job retention, or other types of employment-related benefits or rewards.

  • Sexual harassment in a hostile work environment. This sort of harassment arises under California law when the harassment modifies the employee's working conditions in a way that makes it more difficult for him or her to do his or her job.

  • If the inappropriate conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff's work performance or produced an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, a single instance of harassing conduct is sufficient to show the presence of a hostile work environment.

  • A hostile work environment is contingent on the totality of the circumstances. Even a single insensitive remark can be used to prove harassment.

Sexual harassment can take a number of different forms. Sometimes, they can be covert or seemingly harmless. However, they still take a toll on the target of the harassment, affecting their ability to work and be free from emotional distress.


Consider the following examples below:

  • Online harassment. To harass a victim, the perpetrator can use digital media such as email, social media, or other kinds of contact.