Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that violates both state and federal law. It can take many forms, including unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. In California, sexual harassment is a serious offense that can have long-lasting and devastating effects on victims.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or other settings, you may be entitled to legal remedies and compensation. At Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian, our California sexual harassment attorneys are here to help you understand your legal rights and options and to provide effective legal representation. Contact us today for your free consultation.
What is California Sexual Harassment?
California Sexual Harassment refers to unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. This can include unwelcome comments, gestures, or physical contact that is sexual in nature. Sexual harassment can occur in any workplace, regardless of the gender or sex of the victim or harasser. California law defines sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination that violates an individual’s right to work in a safe and respectful environment.
Examples of California Sexual Harassment
Examples of California Sexual Harassment may include:
- Physical touching or assault: This includes unwanted touching, groping, or other physical acts of a sexual nature.
- Verbal harassment: This includes unwanted sexual comments, jokes, or requests for sexual favors.
- Visual harassment: This includes displaying sexually suggestive images, objects, or materials in the workplace.
- Quid pro quo harassment: This occurs when a person in a position of power demands sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, raise, or other employment benefits.
- Hostile work environment: This occurs when a person is subjected to a pattern of unwelcome sexual conduct that interferes with their ability to work or creates an intimidating or offensive working environment.
Government Agencies Against California Sexual Harassment
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are government agencies that play a crucial role in handling sexual harassment claims in California.
DFEH is the state agency responsible for enforcing California’s laws against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws against discrimination in the workplace, including sexual harassment. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment, you may file a complaint with either agency. Either agency can investigate the complaint, and if the agency finds that sexual harassment occurred, the agency may file a lawsuit against the employer on your behalf or issue a right-to-sue notice, which allows you to pursue a private lawsuit. It’s important to note that you can file a complaint with both DFEH and the EEOC.
Key Laws Against California Sexual Harassment
- The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): This law prohibits sexual harassment in employment and applies to employers with five or more employees. FEHA defines sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, which includes sexual harassment.
- California Labor Code Section 1102.5: This law prohibits retaliation against an employee who reports sexual harassment in the workplace.
- California Business and Professions Code Section 16600: This law prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign agreements that waive their rights to report sexual harassment or any other unlawful conduct.
Statute of Limitations in California Sexual Harassment Claims
The statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim in California depends on the agency or court where the claim is filed. Generally, the time limit for filing a sexual harassment claim is as follows:
- California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): You have one year from the date of the alleged harassment to file a complaint with DFEH. However, if you first reported the harassment internally to your employer, you may have up to three years from the date of the harassment to file a complaint with DFEH.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): You have 300 days from the date of the alleged harassment to file a complaint with the EEOC.
- California Superior Court: You have two years from the date of the alleged harassment to file a lawsuit in California Superior Court.
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations may be tolled, or extended, in certain circumstances, such as if the harasser was in a position of authority over you or if you were under duress or fear of retaliation.
Contact Our California Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you are not alone. You have legal rights and options to protect yourself. Our California sexual harassment attorneys are here to help you understand your legal options and take action against harassment in the workplace. At Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian, we are committed to providing effective legal representation to help you obtain justice and hold your employer or harasser accountable. We have a proven track record of getting justice for victims of sexual harassment. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help.