Every employee has the right to work in a workplace environment that is free of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, in today’s workplace, sexual harassment is not uncommon. Sexual harassment is a type of sex and/or gender discrimination that violates both state and federal law. Sexual harassment can include requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and other types of verbal or physical conduct that are sexual in nature. These requests, advances or other conduct can be considered sexual harassment when they interfere with a person’s work performance, they create a hostile work environment, or they affect a person’s employment.
There are many misperceptions about sexual harassment. One is that the victim is always female and that it’s always a male boss who is the harasser. Victims can be male or female, and the harasser can be of the same sex or opposite sex as the victim. The harasser doesn’t have to be the victim’s boss. Instead, the harasser can be a boss, a co-worker, or even a non-employee. If a co-worker, client or customer engages in the harassment, that can also constitute sexual harassment, especially if the employer was aware of the offensive conduct. Another common misperception is that the only victim of sexual harassment is the person being harassed. That is not true – anyone affected by the conduct can be considered a victim.
Sexual harassment usually arises in two distinct forms: Quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo (which translates into “something for something”) sexual harassment is when the employee is required to submit to an unwanted sexual relationship or sexual advance in return for benefits such as a promotion, more favorable working conditions, better work assignments, or increased pay. If the employee does not agree to the sexual contact, he or she may face demotion, termination and undesirable work assignments. Hostile work environment cases involve an employee being subjected to unwelcome jokes, touching, pictures or teasing that interferes with his or her ability to do the job. An employer that permits this type of behavior may be the target of a sexual harassment claim.
It is both illegal as well as a civil rights violation to discriminate against a person or harass a person because of their sex and/or gender in any aspect of employment, including hiring and firing, compensation, recruitment, promotion, layoffs, job transfers, testing, fringe benefits, training, retirement plans, and other conditions of employment. This includes subjecting an employee to sexual harassment because of their sex and/or gender. For example, if a supervisor commits sexual assault on several female employees, not only will those females have claims for sexual assault (and possibly sexual battery), but they also may bring forth claims of sex/gender discrimination, as it was very likely due to their sex/gender that they were targeted for the sexual assault.
Some examples of sexual harassment may include:
- Unwanted touching
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Obscene language
- Sexually demeaning comments
- Inappropriate use of visual images such as showing offense and/or pornographic images to coworkers
In California, the principal statute governing employment harassment discrimination is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) (Govt C §§12900–12996). This statute protects the right of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age (at least 40), military and veteran status, or pregnancy. (Govt C §§12940(a), 12941, 12945(a)). This statute does not only protect paid employees but also extends to individuals who are unpaid interns and volunteers. (Govt C §12940(j)).
If you believe you have been treated differently because of your sex and/or gender, or if you have been subjected to sexual harassment by a supervisor and/or coworker, give us a call at 855-IM-FIRED for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have substantial experience with these types of cases representing individuals who have been subjected to sexual harassment by a supervisor and/or by a coworker in the past or who are currently experiencing retaliation for reporting sexual harassment to their employer.
There are no up-front costs and you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless we get a recovery in the case.
Contact our Los Angeles California employment attorneys and lawyers now for all of your employee rights’ needs!
- Age Discrimination
- Sex/Gender Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Military Status Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Battery
- Hostile Work Environment
- Whistleblower Violations
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination (LGBTQIA+)
- Race/National Origin Discrimination
- Religious Discrimination
- Family Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act Violations
- Failure to Pay Minimum Wages
- Unsafe Workplace
- Unpaid Wages
- Unpaid Overtime
- Meal Period And Rest Break Violations
- Misclassification as an Independent Contractor
- Wrongful Termination