Sexual Harassment

BE COMFORTABLE AT YOUR PLACE OF WORK

In California, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, apprenticeship training program, or any training program leading to employment, to fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent sexual discrimination and harassment from occurring. The prohibition against sexual harassment includes protection from a broad range of conduct, ranging from expressly or impliedly conditioning employment benefits on submission to or tolerance of unwelcome sexual advances, to the creation of a work environment that is hostile or abusive on the basis of sex. The prohibition against discrimination/harassment in employment because of sex is intended to guarantee that members of both sexes will enjoy equal employment benefits.

  A cause of action for quid pro quo harassment involves the behavior most commonly regarded as sexual harassment, including, e.g., sexual propositions, unwarranted graphic discussion of sexual acts, and commentary on the employee’s body and the sexual uses to which it could be put. To state a cause of action on this theory, it is sufficient to allege that a term of employment was expressly or impliedly conditioned upon acceptance of a supervisor’s unwelcome sexual advances.

Additionally, an employer and/or workers may be liable for creating a “hostile work” environment. For such sexual harassment to be actionable, it must be sufficiently severe or pervasive ”to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.”