Sexual Harassment Q&A
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Am I protected against sexual harassment under federal law and state law?
You are protected under both federal law and California state law. Applicable federal law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. California state law is covered under the Labor Code, Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Constitution. All employment claims should be brought under California state law since California state law offers far better protection.
Who is covered by sexual harassment law in California?
The law covers heterosexuals, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender individuals, and crossdressers.
What proof do I need to demonstrate sexual harassment in the workplace?
There are two ways. One way is “quid pro quo.” The other way is “hostile environment.”
What is “quid pro quo”?
This is when the boss demands sexual favors in return for benefits such as promotions, gifts and money or protection from being fired. A single incident will subject the employer to instant liability.
What is a “hostile environment”?
This is when the boss makes your life miserable based on sexual advancements so that your working environment has changed. The test is whether the offensive conduct is severe and pervasive. The behavior may be physical or verbal. Generally, physical conduct is considered more severe than verbal and requires less frequency. For example, rape would not need it to happen more than once, whereas asking for a date would require several requests after the victim explained that he or she found it offensive and wished it to stop.
What if the sexual harasser is not my boss?
In that event, you must report it to your supervisor or human resources department. The company must protect you against further sexual harassment and appropriately punish the harasser.
What is the statute of limitation to claim for sexual harassment?
Generally, three years from the date of the last offensive act.
What evidence do I have to have to win my case?
Each case is different. I will personally discuss with you the facts of your case, what additional facts we need to find, the likelihood of prevailing, and the money you may expect to receive as damages.