How Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Defined in California?

In a California workplace, sexual harassment falls into two categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. In this post, you’re going to learn about both categories, which are prohibited under state law. Supervisors, managers, and business owners should provide training to employees to help avoid sexual harassment and to know how to deal with the claims if they are made. If you have been sexually harassed by your supervisor or a coworker, reach out to an experienced Orange County employment lawyer.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo is a legal phase that means “something for something.” For instance, if a supervisor or manager expressly says or implies that their team member should submit to sexual advances to get a promotion, avoid being fired, or to avoid a bad review, that is quid pro quo sexual harassment. Sexual advances don’t have to be overt in the sense of asking for sexual favors. It could also mean a supervisor pressures their subordinate into agreeing to go out on a date.

For sexual harassment to fall into this category, it must involve a supervisor or manager and a subordinate. It cannot be employees who are equal in the workplace. In other words, quid pro quo workplace harassment must involve someone who is in a higher work position than the other person.

Hostile Work Environment

Under California law, a hostile work environment is a form of sexual harassment. With this type of sexual harassment, there is no threat that something negative will happen to an employee if they don’t agree to sexual advances. Rather, it involves unwelcome conduct that is based on sex. It creates a workplace that feels intimidating, hostile, or offense in the mind of a reasonable individual.

In the context of California law, the word “sex” means gender. Sif_crime-criminal-008_2668222o, actions that fall into this category don’t have to necessarily be sexual. Bullying one or more people because of their gender is enough. Under California law, “unwelcome conduct” means it wasn’t consensual. However, even if the victim appears to be consenting, it could still be considered sexual harassment if they felt they had to consent to keep their job. The “reasonable person” standard means that someone else who would be considered a reasonable individual would find the same behavior offensive.

For more information on filing a sexual harassment in California, or to discuss your potential case, contact the experienced Orange County employment lawyers at Dennis Law Group today.