The state of California has been one of the most progressive in the US when it comes to sexual harassment mandates. Not only are Californians protected by laws at both the federal and state level, but employers also face many standards in enforcing and preventing sexual harassment in their workplace.
Amendments to sexual harassment legislation seem to roll around every few years as well.
In 2019, governor Gavin Newsom signed off on Assembly Bill 749 which prohibits provisions in settlement agreements that prevent employees from obtaining future employment with the employer they settled with. Then, in 2020, the governor signed off AB 2143, which, adds even more details to that existing law.
So as you can see, sexual harassment laws are a constant work in progress in the Golden State.
Rules for employers in California
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under two foundational laws:
- Federally, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The state-level under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
Additional legislation gives employers fairly strict guidelines on sexual harassment as well:
- AB 1825 makes certain employer action and training mandatory to prevent sexual harassment
- AB 2053 requires all employers subject to AB 1825 to possess protocols on preventing abusive behavior
- SB 1343 requires that all employers with five or more employees provide anti-sexual harassment training to all employees once every 2 years.
Options for victims
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment, or if you have been accused of it, your highest priority is finding an experienced lawyer who knows the ins and outs of these types of cases. Due to the dynamic, circumstantial nature of the workplace, sometimes determining guilt can be a vague, confusing process.
Generally speaking, those who file claims of sexual harassment will make two main types of accusations:
- Quid-pro-quo sexual harassment whereby an employer or high ranking employee tries to offer a tangible job benefit, like a pay raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors.
- Hostile work environment sexual harassment where a victim is subject to unwanted sexual advances, stalking, rude comments, or perhaps an explicit sexual assault.
Courts won’t usually take seriously things like non sexual compliments, or asking someone out on a date. Oftentimes, those claiming sexual assault lose credit with the courts if it turns out they were in a long term relationship with the accuser, so if this is the case, victims need to be careful about framing their case.
Beginning the legal process
Claims of sexual harassment must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year, so time is of the essence for victims to get justice.
Do you need help with a sexual harassment lawsuit in California?
Don’t waste any more time, get in touch with an attorney today. Lawyers are waiting for you in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and everywhere else.
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