No one should have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace. California has strict laws governing sexual harassment in the workplace and considers sexual harassment a type of sex discrimination.
California also has a process for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace and remedies for employees whose reports go unanswered or ignored.
What Does California Consider Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
California’s laws governing sexual harassment in the workplace are found within California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Sexual harassment in the workplace does not have to be motivated by sexual desire.
Rather, it may be based on any of the following:
- An employee’s actual or perceived sex or gender identity;
- An employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation; or
- An employee’s actual or perceived pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
California laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace include same-sex harassers and offensive behavior that subjects co-workers to a hostile work environment.
California Requires Employers to Have a Sexual Harassment Policy in the Workplace
The California Code of Regulations (2 CCR § 11023) requires employers to have a sexual harassment policy in the workplace for the protection of their employees. The employer must make all employees aware of this policy.
Properly Reporting and Documenting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Employees should follow any instructions detailed in their employer’s sexual harassment policy when reporting an incident. Failure to properly document and report an incident could negatively impact pursuing a sexual harassment claim against their employer in the future.
Employees should also keep detailed records of any incident or incidents of sexual harassment.
- Having a written copy of the incident and incident report;
- Following up on the report in writing;
- Keeping copies of any correspondence to and from their employer; and
- Writing down the dates, times, witnesses, and descriptions of any incidents of sexual harassment immediately after they occur.
Thorough written records are vital to filing and proving a sexual harassment claim. Otherwise there may only be the victim’s word against that of the harasser.
Employers Who Fail to Respond to Reports of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Employers who fail to respond to properly reported complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace may face legal liability for their inaction. When an employer does not take appropriate, corrective action, an employee may file a complaint with The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or DFEH.
Filing a Complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
The DFEH reviews complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment. Complaints may be accepted by the DFEH and moved forward to mediation or litigation.
If DFEH chooses not to move forward with a complaint within 150 days, an employee can request a right-to-sue notice from them. Only then can the employee file a sexual harassment in the workplace lawsuit.
Contact a California Workplace Discrimination Attorney Today
California’s rules surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace are complex. If you would like more information about how to report and document your sexual harassment claim, the attorneys at The Armstrong Law Firm can help.
The workplace discrimination attorneys at The Armstrong Law Firm are experienced and skilled in both federal and California sexual harassment laws. We want you to know your legal rights to recover any losses caused by sexually offensive treatment.