Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to sexual harassment and the penalties for workplace sexual harassment in CA, your employer needs to compensate you for any harassment it allows to take place at its business. And it also needs to prevent harassment from happening.

It is crucial that a victim of sexual harassment immediately hire an experienced employment attorney to help make sure their employer pays all penalties and civil damages they owe. 

If you think you have been subjected to sexual harassment at work, you should call the Law Offices of John Dalton immediately. We have decades of experience successfully championing the rights of employees against employer misconduct. 

What Is Sexual Harassment in California? 

Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaw sexual harassment in work settings. These federal and California workplace sexual harassment laws also define sexual harassment similarly.

So, what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace? Under the law, illegal sexual harassment occurs when an employer or someone under an employer’s control engages in unwelcome, sex-based behavior that takes one of the following forms: 

  • Hostile work environment harassment is when an employee is subjected to unwelcome, gender-based behavior that alters an employee’s work environment.  This misconduct can be from a manager, supervisor, co-worker, client, customer, vendor, or just about anyone your employer can control in the workplace.  Just a few examples of such conduct can be comments about your appearance/body, comments about the appearance/body of other employees or people, repeated requests for dates, invading personal space, asking personal questions, inappropriate touching of any part of your body, sending unwanted text messages, or emails.
  • Quid pro quo harassment, in which an employer demands that an employee accept unwanted sexual advances or demands in order to keep work benefits or receive new work benefits.

You should also know that the sexual harassment that occurs in your workplace does not have to be rooted in sexual desire, and you do not have to be the target of the harassment to have a legal claim against your employer. 

If harassment occurring at your work creates a hostile environment for you or affects your access to job opportunities, you have a right to complain. Unwelcome, sex-based behaviors at work are disruptive, destructive, and subject to serious consequences for employers and perpetrators. 

What Are My Employer’s Obligations Regarding Sexual Harassment? 

If sexual harassment occurs in your workplace, your employer must deal with it promptly. An employer is automatically liable for harassment when it comes from a supervisor. And an employer is required to take corrective action against a harasser when the employer knows or should have known that harassment has taken place.

Corrective action from an employer might include:

  • Suspension of the harasser,
  • Removal of the harasser from work projects, 
  • Transfer of the harasser, 
  • Placement of the harasser in anti-harassment training, 
  • Removal of a non-employee harasser from the business premises,
  • Termination of the harasser, and 
  • Reinstatement of job benefits taken from a harassment victim. 

The measures your employer should take to combat harassment will depend on the nature of the harassment you endure and the identity of your harasser. 

Employers that have five or more employees are also required to provide prevention training and education to employees. Sexual harassment prevention training must occur every two years, and it must include two hours of training for supervisors and one hour of training for non-supervisory employees. 

What Are the Consequences of Sexual Harassment? 

You can seek legal relief from the effects of workplace sexual harassment by filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or a lawsuit in civil court. In a successful complaint or lawsuit, your remedies can include the following: 

  • Economic damages to cover your related financial losses (e.g., lost wages, costs associated with finding new employment, medical costs, etc.);
  • Orders for reinstatement of your job benefits;
  • Noneconomic damages to compensate you for mental anguish;
  • Orders requiring your employer to change its practices;
  • Punitive damages to punish an employer for particularly abhorrent behavior; 
  • Attorney fees; and 
  • Legal costs.

If you are contemplating taking legal action against your employer for sexual harassment, speak to the Law Offices of John Dalton right away so we can put you in the best position to recover every legal remedy you deserve. Filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be complicated and mistakes can be made.  Please call us before making such a complaint.

The Law Offices of John Dalton Have the Expertise to Bring You True Justice 

If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you deserve justice and complete legal relief. John Dalton is an attorney with over 25 years of experience and has won some of the largest verdicts in California on behalf of mistreated employees. John wants to make sure that every employee has a voice and a strong advocate against unscrupulous employers, and he has the experience and skill to help make sure employees receive what they are owed.

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    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
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