What Is Sexual Harassment?

Stephen W. HogieEmployment Law Blog

What Is Sexual Harassment?

What Is Sexual Harassment?

             Sexual Harassment lives on in the modern workplace. Fortunately, California and Federal state laws protects you from Workplace Sexual Harassment. You, as a victim, are entitled to lost wages, other economic losses, emotional distress damages, interest, and attorney fees. Sometimes, if the company knew but did nothing, you may get punitive damages (damages to punish and make an example of the employer). Let’s answer the question, “What is Sexual Harassment?

There are two types of Sexual Harassment:

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: Sleep with me to get or keep your job.

             Quid pro quo Sexual Harassment is the one most people think of (a favor given or expected in return for something). This happens when your supervisor requires you to provide sex to get the job, a promotion, benefits, or even to keep your job.

             This type is easy to spot and the law is clear.  Under California law, the employer is responsible for the supervisor’s Sexual Harassment, whether you report it or not.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment:  You want me to touch WHAT?

             Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment happens when harassing acts are so severe (disgusting to the average person) or pervasive (again and again and again …) that it makes work impossible for you. Your supervisor, co-workers, and even those under you can do the things that cause Hostile Work Environment. Harassing conduct includes slurs, taunts, intimidation, ridicule, groping, grabbing, porn on the computer, or graphic descriptions of weekend sex.

             It doesn’t need to be severe AND pervasive, only severe OR pervasive. This means that a single SEVERE act of harassing conduct could be enough, or continued long-term acts of harassment (PERVASIVE) that are not severe or subtle could be enough. You don’t have to be directly targeted to have a case. If you see and hear co-workers being groped and propositioned that can be a Hostile Work Environment.

Harassment by supervisors and co-workers

             If the harasser is your supervisor, manager, or the owner, under California law, the company is on the hook for your damages. If the harasser is by a co-worker or subordinate, you need to report the harassment to the company. You will need to prove that the company knew or should have known about the harassment and didn’t correct it.

             As a victim of Sexual Harassment, you may be scared to immediately report it to your company because of your fear of Retaliation (when the company punishes you for protecting yourself) but failing to report the harassment can damage your claim.


             California law can protect you from Sexual Harassment. You need our law firm to help you navigate these laws. We will help you decide if you have a claim for harassment. We will help you make a complaint if you are still employed. We will help you fight any Retaliation that comes from your complaint.

Contact Us. Our Advice is 100% Confidential.

             There is a strict time limit to file (statute of limitation). It is important that you protect your case. Sexual Harassment and Retaliation should not prevent you from asserting your legal rights. Get help instead. We know how to fight against Sexual Harassment. We won’t pressure you and we won’t tell your employer. Call Hogie & Campbell for a Free Consultation at (714) 508-6422.

Hogie & Campbell  |  What Is Sexual Harassment?  |  Employment Lawyers
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