What Are Sexual Harassment Victims Entitled to in California?

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Posted by Legal Team On February 22, 2024

A victim of sexual harassment in California may wonder if it is worth speaking out and reporting the incident. We hear stories of harassment that have been overlooked and ignored. Taking action often places individuals in a vulnerable position financially, physically, and emotionally.

Sexual harassment victims may be entitled to specific damages or compensation when a sexual harassment case is proven in court, or a settlement is reached. Your compensation will depend on the particular facts relating to your unique California sexual harassment claim.

Legal Entitlements for Sexual Harassment in California

Filing a civil lawsuit for sexual harassment serves to restore the victim to where they were before the incident occurred. While compensation can never undo the damage of sexual harassment, it is a remedy applied by the law to try to make these actions right. In the age of telecommuting, sexual harassment may occur whether you work on-site or from home. A sexual harassment victim may recover damages or compensation for the following:

  • Back pay, including any lost sick time or vacation compensation, lost stock, health insurance, and its value
  • Promotion, if refused, as a form of harassment
  • Emotional distress
  • Fees for securing expert witness testimony
  • Lost promotions
  • Attorney’s fees and costs

These remedies apply to each individual violating the law. In addition to these financial damages, other actions are required.

Changes in Policy Must Occur, and Corrective Action Taken

An employer must also take the following actions to prevent harassment and make changes to a company’s policies to implement the appropriate governmental requirements:

  • Provide each employee with a brochure or information compliant with Gov. Code 12950.
  • Display a copy of the California Discrimination & Harassment Policy poster.
  • Develop a policy under 2 CCR §11023 to address discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Distribute its policy on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by print, email, posting via a company intranet with a tracking system, discussion of the policy upon hiring, or any method that guarantees each employee receives and understands the policy.
  • Provide the information in additional languages spoken by at least 10% of the workforce.
  • Provide the appropriate one-hour training when an employer employs five or more part-time or full-time employees and repeat the training every two years.

Employees may be Rehired or Reinstated

For many, going back to a workplace where sexual harassment took place may not be the option they choose. However, employees earning pensions and compensation correlating with their years of service are still entitled to perform their duties to earn these benefits.

Understanding how California sexual harassment law applies to your situation and allowing for a complete evaluation can give insight into your options and what works best for you.

Exemplary Damages for Particular Acts of Sexual Harassment

Cases tried in court and found to be grossly negligent or egregious may also entitle a sexual harassment victim to exemplary damages. The actions must be found:

  • Malicious
  • Oppressive
  • Fraudulent

These damages are not common but do exist for situations where the court decides to make an example of particularly unacceptable behaviors. These damages serve to discourage and prevent others from acting similarly.

Determine if you Have a Sexual Harassment Claim

Determine if you have a California sexual harassment claim and what damages you may be entitled to. These illegal acts should never impact your livelihood.