California law defines sexual harassment

How Does California Law Define Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment ranges from highly obvious to so subtle that you might think you’re imagining it. Nevertheless, all forms of sexual harassment can have devastating effects on victims’ lives. 

If you don’t know whether your experience counts as sexual harassment or aren’t sure how you can act against the harasser, please consult a California sexual harassment attorney. An assertive lawyer can help protect your rights and, if necessary, help you file a harassment lawsuit.

Recognizing Sexual Harassment 

The law defines sexual harassment as any sort of physical, verbal, or written harassment with a sexual pretext. Sexual harassment comes in many forms, such as:

  • Unwelcome physical contact, often disguised as “friendly” or “accidental” touching
  • Verbal harassment, like repeated and inappropriate comments, jokes, or slurs of a sexual nature
  • Soliciting or extorting sexual favors 
  • Persistent requests for dates, even after you’ve made it clear you aren’t interested
  • Sharing explicit messages or images online
  • Sending unwanted nude photos or exposing body parts in front of the target

If you doubt whether what you’re experiencing is sexual harassment, call a hotline, confide in a trusted person, or talk to a California harassment lawyer.

Where Sexual Harassment Can Happen 

Sexual harassment happens in almost any context, including work settings, roommate relationships, and social situations. Harassment may occur in professional relationships, such as between doctors and patients or counselors and clients. It also often happens online.

Whatever the circumstances, if someone’s behavior makes you uncomfortable, you have every right to ask them to stop. Talk to a California sexual harassment attorney if the problem persists. If harassment escalates to sexual assault or involves stalking or intimidation, report the harasser to the police.

Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment often happens in work settings despite multiple laws and ubiquitous company policies protecting employees from harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination. A California sexual misconduct attorney can help you recognize and take steps against workplace harassment.

Quid Pro Quo

“Quid pro quo” is a legal term describing a situation in which someone promises benefits in return for a favor. In the context of sexual harassment, this often happens when the perpetrator holds a position of authority over the victim. 

Quid pro quo can be direct or implied. For example, your supervisor may repeatedly ask you out while hinting they will soon determine who’s next in line for promotion.

Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment can also create a hostile work environment. Your work performance may suffer if your manager, a coworker, or clients repeatedly make sex-based comments or unwelcome sexual advances. 

If you’re dealing with workplace sexual harassment, report the problem to your employer. Your employer is legally obligated to investigate the situation and take quick, efficient steps to stop the harassment.

Suppose the company fails to resolve the issue. In that case, an attorney for harassment claims in California can help you plan your next steps, like filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The Cifarelli Law Firm: Legal Aid for Sexual Harassment Cases in Irvine, CA

Did someone sexually harass you in a work context or elsewhere? Contact The Cifarelli Law Firm today for a free, discreet consultation with a sexual harassment attorney in CA. Our outstanding sexual and workplace harassment lawyers have worked hard to protect victims’ rights since 1979. We’ll help you choose the right legal strategy and walk you through the steps. 

Call 949-409-6324 or complete our online form to consult a California sexual harassment attorney. 

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