There are two types of sexual harassment which are unlawful in California.

The first kind of sexual harassment is called “quid pro quo harassment”.  In this type, a supervisor’s request for sexual favors are linked to job benefits.  For instance, if a promotion or raise is conditioned upon some sort of sexual proposition, that violates California law. Similarly, if an express or implied threat of termination is made by a supervisor unless the employee grants sexual favors, it also violates California law.

The second type of sexual harassment is called “hostile work environment harassment”.  In this kind, sexual conduct results in an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  This can include verbal conduct of a sexual nature, including epithets, derogatory comments or slurs; or physical conduct, including assault, impeding or blocking movement, or physical interference with normal work or movement; or visual harassment, such as derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings.

Sexual harassment does not need to be perpetrated by a supervisor but if it is not, the employee must report the unlawful conduct to a supervisor or other manager.  The employer is liable for the sexual harassment if it knew or should have known about the conduct and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.

In sexual harassment suits, employees can recover their lost wages and benefits, emotional distress damages, attorneys fees, costs of suit and, in some cases, punitive damages.

The Dean Law Group, with its decades of experience, will help you sort out these complex employment issues.  Our experience in these matters includes numerous trials, arbitrations and mediations, as well as many administrative proceedings.  The firm’s attorneys practice in both California state and federal courts.