California Sexual Harassment Law

California sexual harassment law remains a vital form of protection for women in the State, despite the many advances that society has made with respect to this issue. As much as many people might like to deny it, unwanted advances and the creation of sexually charged work environments still occur on a regular basis. The laws that currently exist have been the result of a painful process designed to ensure that women and men alike can prosper in their chosen field of employment free from this type of conduct and environment.

Under their sexual harassment law, there are two main forms of conduct that are prohibited. Each is deemed to create an atmosphere which no employee should have to endure. It is the responsibility of employers and employees alike to understand what constitutes improper behavior, and to ensure that this conduct does not take place within the workplace.

Quid pro quo

The first type of conduct that California sexual harassment law recognizes as damaging is the so-called quid pro quo type of situation. In Latin, the phrase means "this for that", and can be simply understood as an exchange of one thing for another. In these types of situations, the exchange is generally understood to involve a coercive environment in which employees are made to believe that they can only retain employment by having sex with the boss or other superiors.

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Good Leadership Skills For Life Fast Fact:

A California judge awarded $2,000,000 to a female card dealer for unwanted sexual comments and repeated comments about her body. She alleged after reporting the sexual harassment she was retaliated against.

California sexual harassment law takes a dim view of this conduct, and offers no defense for employers who permit it to occur. Even when the owners of a business are not directly involved in the conduct, they can still be held liable in court for not taking the necessary action to prevent it from taking place within their establishment.

Hostile environments

The second type of situation recognized by California involves the so-called "hostile work environment". Of the two, this form of harassing conduct is more open to interpretation, since it is a claim that can even be made by someone who did not directly experience the conduct herself. Examples of this type of conduct are many and varied.

They include everything from sexually suggestive language to inappropriate touching and groping. Lewd jokes, sexually charged images and gender-related slurs can also be considered harassing in nature. Even a single instance of this form of behavior can be deemed to create an environment of hostility.

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Good Leadership Skills For Life Fast Fact:

A car dealership settled a sexual harassment claim with the EEOC for $132,250. The claim alleged that the car dealership subjected its female employees to unwanted touching, pornographic images, and unwanted sexual comments.


Given the severe nature of California sexual harassment law, employers should be proactive in preventing the types of behavior that are covered under the statutes. Sensitivity training should be considered an important part of this prevention strategy, so that every employee understands which types of conduct are prohibited within the workplace. History has demonstrated that proper training in this area is a critical aspect of any sound prevention strategy.

For women who believe they have been victimized in this matter, the best recourse is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. He or she will be able to offer the best advice as to whether the conduct in question is actionable. The attorney can also advise the victim as to what remedies are available under California sexual harassment law, as well as the best way to address the situation.

May God Bless You!

good leadership skills

Good Leadership Skills For Life Fast Fact:

The EEOC brought charges against a car dealership for placing mirrors behind a female bathroom mirror. The dealership agreed to pay $100,000.

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