Practice Areas

Sexual Harassment

No person should be the victim of sexual harassment. When people go to work, they should feel comfortable in a safe environment where they can perform their job duties without fear of harassment. Unfortunately, countless people are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.

There are several state and federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. The two main sources of laws for employees in California are the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law strictly prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex in the workplace. The skilled attorneys at the Work Justice firm are available to discuss your legal options if you are the victim of harassment.

Two Main Types of Sexual Harassment

Quit Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that means “this for that.” Like the name implies, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when sexual favors are requested or demanded in exchange for a specific job benefit. For example, if employees perform a sex act they will receive a raise. Generally, quid pro quo sexual harassment appears as either an offer or a threat. Unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate discussions of sexual acts, or commentary on the employee’s body can all be considered sexual harassment.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Hostile work environment sexual harassment is a broader claim that applies when unwelcome sexual conduct makes the workplace offensive, intimidating or abusive. The type of harassment is unlawful regardless of whether it is motivated by sexual desire and regardless of gender. Hostile work environment sexual harassment may appear in many forms including:

  • Unwanted Physical Touching
  • Sexually Derogatory Comments
  • Inappropriate Propositions
  • Favoritism and Unequal Treatment
  • Persistent Leering

In California, employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. If harassment has occurred, the employer has a duty to take affirmative measures to change the offending individual’s behavior and prevent others from committing similar unlawful conduct. Employers who have 5 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees every two years. Supervisors must receive two hours of training and all other employees must receive one hour of training.

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