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California Laws Against Sexual Harassment

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Last Updated: 4/10/2024

Sexual harassment laws exist to deter potential abusers from harming individuals physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Also, laws against sexual harassment vary across many jurisdictions. However, federal sexual harassment laws exist to ensure that all Americans, no matter where they reside, may seek financial compensation for their injuries if they experience sexual harassment.

Victims of sexual harassment often are reluctant to discuss the abuse they suffered with others. You should consider the steps to take to report sexual harassment at work. Also, seek out the service of an employment law attorney if you have questions about workplace sexual harassment and civil lawsuits. Contact the Manukyan Law Firm today if you have questions about what you can do to understand the scope of your legal rights.

COMMON DAMAGES IN A WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT

Employees need to understand that they can seek the following types of damages in a sexual harassment lawsuit: general damages, special damages, and punitive damages. The following are some common examples of damages claimed in a sexual harassment lawsuit:

  • Reinstatement
  • Alterations in company policies
  • Lost promotions
  • Expert witness fee
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Back pay
  • Emotional distress

Although this is not an exhaustive list, you now have a fairly comprehensive idea of the most common types of damages stated in a civil lawsuit involving a victim who suffered sexual harassment.

THE FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING ACT

The Fair Employment and Housing Act is the State of California’s law prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. Under California law, any behavior or action of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating, and/or offensive work environment based on an employee’s sex constitutes sexual harassment.

Both an objective component and a subjective component are relevant to sexual harassment in California. The objective component asks whether any person in the harassed employee’s place would find the circumstances to be offensive, abusive, and ultimately hostile. The subjective component asks whether the harassed employee suffered emotionally from the behavior.

The emotional distress may have affected the employee’s health and impaired their ability to do their job. A sexual harassment victim in California may be subject to hostile work environment sexual harassment or quid pro quo sexual harassment. It is important for you to reach out to an attorney if you are having issues with your employment due to sexual harassment you are suffering in the workplace.

SB 1343

SB 1343 passed the California legislature in 2018. Before the passage of this bill, only employers with fifty or more employees had to adhere to sexual harassment prevention training requirements. Now, employers with five or more employees must provide sexual harassment prevention training, and this includes non-supervisory personnel.

AB 547

The janitorial and construction sectors of the U.S. economy have high incidents of sexual harassment. AB 1978 required employee training in the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual violence. AB 547 mandates that the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) will create training materials so employers can abide by this law. The DLSE will make a list of organizations that are qualified in providing prevention training.

AB 51

Employers may not mandate that job applicants and employees sign contracts waiving their right to arbitrate FEHA claims as a condition of their employment. Also, employers may not discriminate against, fire, threaten, or retaliate against any current employee who refuses to sign a waiver. AB 51 helps protect the right of employees to sue their employers. Arbitration waivers were often used by corporations specializing in retail sales and food service to shield themselves from liability.

AB 9

The Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) expands a sexual harassment victim’s right to file a complaint with the FEHA from one year to three years from the date of the incident. Workplace harassment is a broad subject, and includes discrimination, retaliation, and other conduct based on an employee’s protected characteristic, such as sex and gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, age and disability.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT

Under federal law, sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In the Supreme Court case of Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the justices recognized sexual harassment as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. SB 1343 changed the law so that now employers with five or more full-time employees need to comply with sexual harassment prevention training in California. Also, the law now includes non-supervisory personnel who must receive sexual harassment prevention training.

One of the best resources available to you is the Guide to California Retaliation Lawsuit Settlements. Workplace retaliation in California occurs when employers penalize employees for performing actions which are protected by state and federal law. Contact the Manukyan Law Firm today to learn more about the legal services we provide.

THE ACTIONS TO TAKE IF I SUFFER SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, then you need to take legal action immediately. Do not wait for your abuser to destroy evidence or accuse you of victimizing them. You should take the following actions once you know you were sexually harassed at work:

  • Retail all relevant evidence which can be used to substantiate your legal claims
  • Do not post anything regarding your experiences on social media applications
  • File a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if your employer does not respond to your complaint
  • Provide a detailed account of the sexual harassment itself and the events leading up to the abuse.
  • Report the episode and retain all records of correspondence between you and the person who harmed you

It can be overwhelming to face the reality of sexual harassment in the workplace. You may feel conflicting emotions, and that is ok, because you may need to face one thing at a time to avoid feeling overpowered with emotion. Some victims feel humiliated and sick while others feel angry and vengeful. It is best to focus on what you can do to practice good self-care during this difficult time.

CONTACT A GLENDALE SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWYER TODAY TO SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

If you are seeking legal representation, then reach out to a Glendale sexual harassment lawyer today to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys will help you determine what you can do to enforce your legal rights. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and demand that you be afforded the same rights under the law as any other person who suffers from sexual harassment in the United States.

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