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When you go to work every day, you have the right to assume that you will encounter a protected and comfortable work environment. But if you are the victim of sexual harassment, it is difficult to feel either of those things. There are specific laws in California about sexual harassment. California sexual harassment law prohibits sexual harassment in any form while you are in the workplace, and it also provides supervisors and employers with training on how to spot, deal with and prevent workplace sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and there are also state laws in place to protect California’s workers against harassment. According to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, sexual harassment, which can come in various forms, is strictly prohibited and illegal. There are two main types of workplace conditions that can constitute sexual harassment in California.
“Quid pro quo” means “you do this for that.” It’s a form of sexual harassment where someone offers a benefit in exchange for a sexual favor, or they make it either explicitly or implicitly known that if you refuse their sexual request, it could lead to you not getting a deserved promotion, being terminated, or even receiving something like a bad work review when it is unwarranted.
To make a claim for quid pro quo in California, the person who is sexually harassing you must hold a position of authority or be your supervisor or boss. If a co-worker engages in the same requested-favor situation, it isn’t a quid pro quo case; that might instead constitute a hostile work environment situation.
Another type of harassment included in California’s sexual harassment law is called a “hostile work environment.” As opposed to quid pro quo (which requires the other person be in a position of authority over you), any employee can be involved in making your work environment hostile by using sexual conduct that is threatening, intimidating, or that would be unwelcome or offensive to any reasonable person.
To make a claim for a hostile work environment, you do not have to prove that the behavior was specifically directed at you. If there is someone in your office that is making you uncomfortable by their actions, that might be enough to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Sexual harassment does not need to be related to sexual advances or even about innuendos that make someone feel uncomfortable. It can be experienced by either a man or a woman. An example of sexual harassment perpetrated on a man is if he is bullied specifically because of his gender. Sexual harassment can go both ways in the workplace and isn’t dependent on the victim’s gender.
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