Fight Back Against Workplace and Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is an unfortunately common problem in workplaces all across the United States. California is no different. Men and women in all ranks of employment are subjected to unwanted and harassing remarks, gestures, and physical contact. What’s more, employees are subject to the incredible emotional toll that sexual harassment leaves behind.

The Employee Advocates at Winston Law Group, P.C. represents employees who have suffered from sexual harassment in the workplace. We believe in being strong advocates for our clients, and will work hard to protect your rights and hold accountable those responsible for harassing you. Workplace harassment of any sort should not be tolerated in California workplaces.

California labor laws recognize two forms of workplace sexual harassment. These include:

  • Hostile Work Environment
  • Quid-Pro-Quo

These two forms of harassment are covered in California Government Code § 12940(j). A brief overview of each form of sexual harassment includes the following:

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is the most common form of sexual harassment. Under this concept, harassment may be verbal or physical, and is generally sexual in nature. To prove the existence of a hostile work environment, the employee must prove:

  • That he or she was subjected to unwanted/unwelcome sexual comments, advances, or other conduct.
  • That the harassment was significant enough to alter the workplace environment and the victim’s employment. Most often, determining that the workplace environment was altered includes determining how often the harassment occurred, how severe it was, whether there was a threat of physical harm, and if the harassment interfered with the job.
  • That the employer knew, or should have known, that harassment was occurring in the workplace environment. If your manager or supervisor is the person harassing you, it will be automatically held that he or she “knew” that harassment was occurring. If it was a co-worker, then you must show that your employer knew or should have known. This is done by providing complaint reports and other documentation.   

You will also have to prove that harassment occurred, and that the behavior was, in fact, unwanted. The best way to do this is by keeping records and filing a complaint (or as many as necessary) with human resources.

Quid-Pro-Quo Harassment

Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment is a form of harassment by which an employer, supervisor, or manager requests sexual favors from a subordinate in exchange for something. Most often, the sexual favors are in exchange for getting hired, retaining a job, getting a promotion, or receiving a positive performance review.

Sometimes the harassment is in reverse, where sexual favors are demanded in exchange for the employer NOT doing something, such as demoting or terminating the employee. Either form of quid-pro-quo sexual harassment is illegal.

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