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Sexual harassment may be extremely devastating to employees, and it is important for all of the workers in our state to be aware of California sexual harassment laws. There are many different forms of sexual harassment, including offers, threats, and innuendoes, but the line between harassment and other actions that may be less offensive is not always clear. Generally, sexual harassment cases are fact-specific, and they may involve sexual advances or physical, verbal, or visual harassment. Often, employees are connected on social networks or by text, and sexual harassment may take place in that way as well. The experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm can help you assert your rights under California laws.
California Sexual Harassment Laws
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. This may involve harassment based on someone’s sex or gender, as well as childbirth, pregnancy, or a pregnancy-related medical condition. Even harassing someone due to their gender without a sexual motivation is prohibited.
In most cases, California has greater protections for workers than federal law does. Sexual harassment may be characterized as either hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo harassment. The former arises if harassment occurs repeatedly over a period of time, and the work environment becomes hostile, oppressive, or intimidating as a result. The latter occurs if some aspect of employment, such as a promotion or a termination, is contingent on an employee submitting to unwelcome sexual advances. Even one episode of quid pro quo harassment is enough to sue in California.
Hostile work environment harassment requires a court to look at whether a reasonable person would feel that the workplace had been made hostile. The court will assess the frequency of the harassing actions, the nature of them, and the context in which the actions occurred, among other factors.
Under FEHA, any person or business that regularly employs one or more employees is considered an employer that may be held accountable for sexual harassment. Even a coworker may be held liable for sexual harassment. Employers as well as supervisors and coworkers may be liable for unlawful harassing conduct even if they are aiding and abetting harassment, rather than actually performing sexually harassing actions themselves. For example, a coworker who knew that another coworker was inappropriately touching you and encouraged that coworker to do so might be liable for sexual harassment. Similarly, an employer may be liable for sexual harassment if it should have known about a coworker harassing you but failed to take any preventative measures. Employers are required to provide a sexual harassment-free workplace.
If you successfully establish a claim under FEHA, you may be able to recover compensatory damages (related to actual economic harms like job loss or medical benefits), emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and injunctive relief. Punitive damages may also be available when the harassing conduct amounted to oppression, malice, or fraud.
Discuss Your Sexual Harassment Case with a Los Angeles Lawyer
If you have been mistreated in your workplace, you should be aware of the California sexual harassment laws that are in place to protect you. At The Nourmand Law Firm, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys provide vigorous representation to workers who have been wronged in their place of employment. We also represent employees in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills, Perris, Victorville, Ontario, Vernon and other cities in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form to set up a free appointment with a gender discrimination attorney.