Many people experience sexual harassment in the workplace, despite it being not only unacceptable but against the law. California law sets out clear guidelines that prohibit certain behaviors. Employees have the right to go to work without the fear of being sexually harassed.
If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, you should contact an attorney. The Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP, are experienced in fighting for the rights of employees who have been sexually harassed in the workplace. Sexual harassment claims can be a complex area of employment law to navigate, and an experienced sexual harassment attorney can help you seek the legal remedies you deserve.
Sexual harassment is prohibited according to both Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Sexual harassment is generally defined as unwanted sexual contact by a supervisor, superior, or colleague, and it is not limited to any specific gender. This means that both the victim and perpetrator could be any gender.
There are generally two specific types of sexual harassment under the law:
Quid pro quo harassment refers to any time a superior makes a worker’s continued employment conditional upon submitting to unwanted sexual advances. Examples could include offering special benefits or vacation time to an employee in exchange for submission to the unwelcome sexual advances or threatening to fire the employee if they do not give in to the superior’s demands.
Unwelcome sexual conduct occurs when ongoing sexual conduct is so severe that it creates a toxic or abusive environment for a worker. The types of sexual conduct that could apply include visual activities (i.e., displaying sexual images), verbal conduct (i.e., making sexual statements), and physical contact (i.e., touching someone in an inappropriate place or manner).
California law defines sexual harassment as any type of harassment based upon gender, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to childbirth. The FEHA states that sexual harassment consists of unwanted sexual overtures, verbal conduct, or physical conduct that can be considered sexual in nature. According to the FEHA, sexual harassment occurs in cases where those advances or conduct affect a victim’s employment conditions, unreasonably interfere with the victim’s job performance, or create a work environment that is abusive, hostile, intimidating, or offensive.
The types of behavior that may fall under this sexual harassment umbrella include, but are not limited to:
Other types of prohibited activities include describing people using sexually degrading words or harassing someone simply because of their gender. California law provides several avenues for sexual harassment victims to pursue, which include filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, if necessary.
Employees who have experienced sexual harassment are not powerless. Both California and federal law provide methods for workers to seek restitution. Our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP, may be able to help you. Contact us online or call us at (310) 844-9696 to schedule a free consultation regarding your sexual harassment case.