Sexual Harassment is one of the most prevalent issues in the workplace. Gender bias and inappropriate behavior are common in the workplace but often go unreported. Dealing with these issues can be frightening and may seem overwhelming– but the law is on your side.
California and Federal laws prohibit harassment and discrimination based on sex or gender. If you are being discriminated against because of your sex or gender, it is illegal, and the perpetrator can be held legally responsible.
Sexual Harassment Protection
California’s sexual harassment laws protect the following:
- Potential job applicants
- Current and former employees
- Independent contractors
Who can be sued for sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment claims can be filed against an employer who has only one employee or regularly uses the services of at least one independent contractor. Generally, all employees, including individual supervisors, can be held liable if they sexually harass other people.
However, if you wish to hold the company liable for the actions of an individual harasser, this will depend on who harassed the employee and/or whether the employer knew about the harassment.
If you have experienced any of those behaviors, you should consult a sex and gender discrimination attorney at Falakassa Law, P.C. If you are a victim of sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace, call 916-619-2029 for a free consultation.
What is sexual harassment?
In California, courts generally separate sexual harassment cases into two distinct types of violations, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when an employer offers an employee some kind of benefit or threatens termination, conditioned upon the employee submitting to a sexual favor. For example, if a manager tells or implies to an employee that they will get a raise or promotion if they sleep with them.
Quid pro quo cases often involve unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate discussions of graphic sexual acts, or commentary on the employee’s body and the sexual uses to which it could be put.
Hostile Work Environment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment is conduct that creates an abusive work environment. This type of harassment must be severe, frequent, or both. A few mildly offensive comments are usually not enough.
Hostile work environment sexual harassment must subjectively offend, humiliate, or distress the victim. To prove that the victim suffered, they must establish the following:
- The harassment disturbed their emotional tranquility in the workplace
- The harassment affected their ability to perform their job
- The harassment interfered with and undermined their sense of well-being
Some courts have suggested that one severe violation is enough to support a claim of a hostile work environment but, typically, many cases require the victim to demonstrate a pattern of abusive behavior.
What to do when you experience sexual harassment?
Make the harassment known by filing a formal complaint with your Human Resources Department. Also, it is best to start accumulating evidence and proof such as emails, text messages, and a journal of the advances, behavior, and discriminatory remarks of the harassers.
For a free consultation, contact a sexual harassment attorney at Falakassa Law, P.C. Set your boundaries by calling 916-680-8486 today.