Sexual Harassment

Title VII and the FEHA prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. The FEHA defines sexual harassment as harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive harassing behavior, including: unwanted sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; making sexual gestures; making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes; and physical touching or assault, including impeding or blocking movement.

There are two forms of sexual harassment under the FEHA – quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when any of the terms or conditions of employment are conditioned upon an employee’s submission to unwelcomed sexual advances and conduct. Hostile work environment occurs when an employee’s work environment contains conduct that is so severe or pervasive that it objectively alters the employee’s work environment.

Employers are required to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. This duty requires employers to provide and post information regarding the illegality of sexual harassment in the workplace. If harassment does occur, an employer is required to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation. If the harassment allegations are proven true, an employer must take prompt and effective corrective actions.

Nobody should have to work in a hostile environment or abusive environment. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, we can help. Contact our office today to discuss your legal rights.