Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the biggest issues employees face today. One need only look at the news to learn of new sexual harassment allegations in politics, Hollywood, and the corporate world.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace encompasses a variety of behaviors including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Some examples of sexual harassment include:
- Explicitly or implicitly conditioning employment or job advancement upon the performance of sexual favors
- Committing physical sexual assault
- Making requests for sexual favors
- Making jokes of a sexual nature or otherwise referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation
- Unwanted touching or physical contact
- Making unwelcome sexual advances
- Discussing one’s sex life or sexual fantasies at work
- Making someone feel pressured to engage with one sexually
- Exposing oneself or performing sexual acts on oneself in front of others in the workplace
- Sending or showing unwanted sexually explicit photos, emails, or text messages
The sexual harasser can be a man or a woman and the sexual harassed employee could be a man or a woman. It doesn’t matter whether the victim is the same sex as the harasser or if they are of the opposite sex. The harasser doesn’t have to be the victim’s direct supervisor for workplace sexual harassment to occur - they can be a co-worker, a supervisor in another department, an agent of the employer, or even a vendor or customer.
One need not even be the direct target of sexually harassing behavior to be a victim of workplace sexual harassment. Anyone affected by the offensive conduct might have a viable California sexual harassment claim.
Types of California Sexual Harassment Claims
Quid Pro Quo Claims
The oldest and most well-known type of sexual harassment is a quid pro quo claim, which typically involves a supervisor or manager or other person in power conditioning employment, a raise, a promotion, or more favorable working conditions upon a subordinate providing sexual favors. These sexual favors run the gamut from going out on a date to outright demands for sex. Although it is not illegal or sexual harassment per se to date a coworker or even a subordinate employee, it is sexual harassment to condition employment or other workplace benefit upon the co-worker or subordinate’s provision of sexual favors.
Hostile Work Environment Claims
Most sexual harassment cases brought today involve hostile work environment claims. A hostile work environment is created when the sexual harassment in the workplace is so pervasive that it creates an intimidating atmosphere that interferes with employee performance. Some examples of behavior that could create a hostile environment include unwelcome touching, physically blocking someone’s path, dirty jokes, the use of sexually explicit language, sexually suggestive signs (or cartoons, letters, and notes), and pornographic pictures, cartoons, and graffiti in workplace bathrooms, locker rooms and employee lounges.
Find Out If You Have a Viable California Sexual Harassment Claim
If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment, contact Glick Law Group today to discuss your claim. We provide a free consultation and help you determine whether you have a viable California sexual harassment claim against your employer. Your consultation and conversations with our legal team are confidential. Glick Law Group is a safe space for you to openly speak about your experience and determine if you have legal rights under California law.