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Types of Sexual Harassment in California


It’s 2017, but it’s not hard to believe that sexual harassment and various other forms of harassment continue to occur within the workplace.

An untold number of people across California still find themselves dealing with horrifying work environments because they’re too afraid to come forward and launch a complaint against an offender in the workplace. Jobs are difficult to get and keep, and if you find yourself in a position where you’re being given the ultimatum of sleeping with a coworker or losing your employment, it can be a terrifying situation.

Luckily, state and federal laws in California offer powerful protections for people who are struggling with the issue of sexual harassment – whether it’s quid-pro-quo sexual harassment or the sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Today, quid pro quo sexual harassment is the type of harassment that most people are familiar with. This form of harassment involves a supervisor or boss conditioning benefits for employees―such as the continuation of employment, or promotions based on the acceptance of the employee’s harassing conduct. There is no more blatant form of exploitation within the workplace than this type of harassment.

According to the laws of employment in California, the employer of any individual is strictly liable for the sexual harassment of a supervisor, or the sexual harassment that they themselves conduct towards employees. Successful plaintiffs in claims of sexual harassment can recover compensation for various economic losses, emotional distress damages, and more.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment refers to an occasion wherein harassing conduct is so pervasive or severe that it creates a damaging work environment for employees. Co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates can all engage in conduct that gives rise to a hostile work environment. What’s more, harassing conduct can include:

  • intimidation
  • taunts
  • slurs
  • grabbing
  • groping
  • and more

In some cases, the definition of hostile work environment sexual harassment ensures that a single case of harassing conduct could be identified as enough to create a hostile work environment if the issue is severe enough. Alternatively, campaigns of small acts of harassment could come together over time to create a hostile working environment.

Filing a Claim of Sexual Harassment

It can be very difficult for an employee to come forward and present an issue of sexual harassment to the court―particularly if that employee is afraid that they might lose his or her job. This is the only way that an individual can improve their life and earn the damages that they deserve for their emotional disruption.

In addition, the employee that comes forward about a case of sexual harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be the direct target of the conduct in order to file a claim. For instance, a woman who witnesses a fellow co-worker being propositioned might be able to file a claim for a hostile work environment sexual harassment issue.

To learn more about your rights as an employee, and the issues associated with employment litigation, please speak to the team of attorneys at Makarem & Associates by calling 310.312.0299, or via email at [email protected]. We have successfully represented victims of sexual harassment. We know how to fight for you. We are in this together, call us for a free consultation.