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California Sexual Harassment Law

The most common type of workplace employment discrimination in California is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is illegal under both California and federal law. A violation of the law occurs when the sexual harassment is so severe or constant that it changes the conditions of the victim's employment and creates a hostile working environment. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you should call a sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Arias, Ozzello & Gignac LLP, our experienced and skilled sexual harassment attorneys will aggressively fight for your legal rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment consists of unwanted sexual contact by a superior, supervisor, or co-worker. Both male and female employees can be victims of sexual harassment and a victim can be harassed by a member of the same sex (even if the neither the harasser nor the victim are homosexual). Sexual harassment generally consists of two types:


  • Quid pro quo harassment: This occurs when employment is conditioned on the employee’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances (i.e. offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors). For example, an employee may be threatened with termination if he or she refuses a sexual advance.
  • Unwelcome sexual conduct: This consists of conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive environment for the employee. For example, this may include visual conduct such as displaying sexual pictures, verbal conduct such as making sexual comments, and physical conduct such as inappropriate touching of someone.

California Law

Sexual harassment is a violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under this law, harassment based on sex, gender, pregnancy, and childbirth or related medical conditions, is considered sexual harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment if the conduct affects the victim's employment, unreasonably interferes with work performance, or creates an abusive, intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Examples of illegal sexual harassment may include any of the following:

  • offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors (or threats of termination, demotion, etc. for refusal)
  • unwanted sexual advances 
  • visual conduct such as sexual gestures, leering or displaying pornographic pictures 
  • verbal conduct such as derogatory comments, slurs and jokes
  • verbal abuse of a sexual nature 
  • verbal comments about a person body
  • sexually degrading words used to describe a person
  • sexually suggestive or obscene letters, e-mails or notes
  • unwanted physical contact such as touching or impeding a person movements
  • harassment based on gender, such as mistreatment of a person because she is female

California Sexual Harassment Attorney

Sexual harassment is not only degrading and demoralizing. It is illegal. You have the right to be free of sexual harassment, in any form, at your place of work. If you have been sexually harassed by a supervisor or co-worker at your place of employment, you need the help of an experienced employment law lawyer. At the Law Offices of Arias, Ozzello & Gignac LLP, our skilled sexual harassment attorneys can help you with your claim and provide you with skilled and experienced representation. Sexual harassment lawsuits can be complex and the deadline for filing a claim is not always clear. It is therefore very important to contact us as soon as possible.

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