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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and California FEHA Law

March 11, 2010

In yesterday's blog, our Southern California Labor and Employment Lawyers discussed that sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination in both California state and Federal laws.

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), harassment based on sex includes gender harassment, sexual harassment, harassment based on medical conditions, or harassment based on pregnancy.

Sexual harassment is defined by the FEHA as unwanted sexual advances or visual, physical or verbal behavior that has a sexual and offensive nature, and can even include same-sex gender-based harassment. A partial list of the FEHA violations in the workplace include:

  • Sexual advances that are unwanted
  • Physical touching, assault or obstructing the movements of an employee
  • Threatening an employee after being rejected by sexual advances
  • Visual conduct--making crude or sexual gestures, staring or leering, displaying sexually suggestive pictures, objects, posters or material.
  • Verbal conduct--engaging in sexually offensive or derogatory slurs, comments or jokes.
  • Sexual advances of a verbal nature, including propositions for sexually inappropriate activity.
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature--sexually charged comments about an employee or individual's body, offensive or degrading sexual comments spoken against an individual, sexually suggestive notes, invitations, or obscene letters.

According to the FEHA, the three most common types of sexual harassment complaints are:

Retaliation can occur when employee is wrongfully terminated, denied a job, or employment benefits for refusing to grant sexual favors and complaining about the sexual harassment. • A "constructive discharge" harassment case can occur when an employee quits a job because he/she can no longer tolerate the hostile work environment. If a reasonable person under these conditions resigns to escape the harassment, and it is proven, then the FEHA states that an employer could be held as accountable for the resignation as if the employee had been fired. • Complaints where an employee is exposed to an offensive work environment, and subjected to various kinds of sexually inappropriate behavior or to unwanted sexually harassing advances based on gender.

If you or someone you know in Orange County or throughout Southern California has experienced sexual harassment, sex-based discrimination, wrongful termination or retaliation in the workplace, our experienced team of Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys can help find a solution for your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

Related Web Resources:

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)