Sexual Harassment includes any unwelcome conduct, such as unwanted sexual advances, touching, memes or graphics, derogatory remarks, and slurs. The harassing conduct does not need to be motivated by sexual desire; it just needs to be based on the victim’s sex. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated by either sex and may be directed toward somebody who is the same sex as the perpetrator. Sexual harassment cases are sensitive, emotional, and difficult for wronged employees to talk about. The attorneys at Knoll Law Group are here to listen and help you through this tough time.
FEHA prohibits harassment based on a protected characteristic. One of these protected characteristics is sex. Courts often categorize sexual harassment as either quid pro quo harassment or hostile work environment harassment, but sometimes the facts include aspects of both types. The harassment is actionable only if it is unwelcome.
An employer can be liable for sexual harassment perpetrated by a supervisor or manager regardless of whether it knew about the harassment. However, an employer is liable for harassment by a coworker or customer only if the employer knew or should have known about the harassing conduct but did not take immediate corrective measures. As a sexual harassment attorney in California can explain, you should tell the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and follow any grievance procedures for reporting sexual harassment that are set forth in your employment manual. If there are no grievance procedures or no employment manual, you should report the sexual harassment to your employer’s Human Resources Department.
Quid pro quo harassment can be perpetrated by supervisors, managers, or other people with authority over the employee in the workplace. It occurs when a supervisor or manager demands sexual favors from an employee in exchange for employment or workplace benefits. In order to establish quid pro quo harassment, you will need to prove that you applied for a job or worked for the employer, a supervisor or manager made unwelcome sexual advances toward you, your employment or a favorable employment benefit was implicitly or explicitly conditioned on submitting to sexual requests, and the supervisor or manager’s conduct was a substantial factor in the harm that you experienced as a result. For instance, if your supervisor propositions you for sex and in exchange offers you a promotion, this is quid pro quo harassment. Or, if a company’s manager says that he will hire you if you agree to date him, this is also quid pro quo harassment. Our California sexual harassment attorneys can help an employee bring claims against their employer in these situations.
Hostile work environment harassment exists when workplace sexual conduct is so severe or so pervasive that it alters the terms and conditions of employment and renders the work environment hostile or abusive. You can establish hostile work environment harassment if you are subject to unwelcome sexual advances, remarks, or actions in the workplace, the unwelcome conduct is based on your sex, and it is pervasive or severe enough to make the employment conditions hostile. Trivial or minor one-off incidents can sometimes be used collectively to support a claim that the environment was hostile.
A single incident that is severe enough may establish a hostile work environment. For example, if you were sexually assaulted by a coworker during your lunch hour, you would have an actionable claim.
Sexual harassment can be painful and embarrassing. Sometimes it has serious economic consequences. If you suffered harm due to workplace sexual harassment in California, you should talk to the Knoll Law Group about your situation. Call our firm at (818) 954-5459 or complete our online form to speak with a sexual harassment lawyer serving California, and other areas of California.