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Am I Being Sexually Harassed at Work?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Firm News

There are two types of sexual harassment under California law: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Conditioning of a job opportunity, such as a promotion or hiring, on sexual advances is known as quid pro quo. Of the two, the hostile work environment is more common.

What is a hostile work environment?

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employee can show a hostile work environment exists if she can prove: (1) she was subjected to verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, (2) the conduct was unwelcome, and (3) the abusive conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to alter the conditions of her employment, resulting in an abusive working environment.[1]

What kind of conduct constitutes harassment?

The heart of a sexual harassment claim is unequal treatment of an employee based on their sex. Physical conduct, like touching, is considered more offensive than verbal conduct.[2]

Verbal harassment can rise to harassment under certain circumstances. The type of the unwelcome sexual acts or statements, the frequency of the conduct, the time period, and the environment in which the conduct occurred will all be considered by the judge.[3]

If your employer is the harasser, whether it be physical or verbal, they will be held to strict liability.[4] If the harasser is a coworker or non-employee, an employer has a duty to take immediate and appropriate corrective action when they know of the harassment. This includes putting a stop to the harassment and investigating the conduct. If an employer fails to take these steps, they are liable for sexual harassment.

Not Being Treated Your Worth? Call Us.

If you are currently suffering from sexual harassment, the experienced attorneys at Makarem & Associates are here for you. The road to recovery starts with holding the abuser accountable in a court of law. Let us help you in your journey and get you the outcome you deserve. Call us for a free consultation: (310) 312-0299.

[1] Sheffield v. Los Angeles County Dept. of Social Services, 109 Cal.App.4th 153 (2003).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] California Code §12940(j)(1).