We are all protected from being discriminated against because of certain characteristics when seeking employment or housing, or when attending certain educational programs. These protections include a prohibition against sexual harassment, so if you are being harassed at work or at an educational institution, you should contact sexual harassment attorneys in San Francisco who can help you attempt to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, and as such, is prohibited under both state and federal law. A wide range of conduct qualifies as sexual harassment, including everything from making unwelcome sexual advances to requesting sexual favors. In fact, conduct does not even have to be sexual in nature to qualify as harassment. For instance, making offensive remarks about a person’s sex constitutes sexual harassment under federal law.
California takes a similar view of sexual harassment, defining it as any visual, physical, or verbal conduct that is of a sexual nature and creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. The offensive conduct in question need not be motivated by sexual desire to qualify as harassment, but could be based on:
This broad definition of sexual harassment includes a number of different kinds of offensive behavior, such as:
If you have experienced this type of treatment in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team to learn more about your legal options.
The federal law prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including both state and local governments. While this could mean that many employees who work for smaller companies are left without protection, California law fills in these gaps by prohibiting sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Unlike Title VII, FEHA’s protections against sexual harassment apply to all businesses in the state, regardless of the number of employees, and protect not only applicants and employees but also unpaid interns and volunteers, as well as contractors.
Employees or applicants who have been the victims of sexual harassment have a few different options when it comes to filing a claim, including submitting a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which may investigate and may pursue claims on behalf of claimants. Alternatively or additionally, a person may file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the agency responsible for enforcing federal sexual harassment laws. In California, complaints filed with one agency will automatically be cross-filed with the other, meaning that claimants are not required to file more than once. Depending on the agency’s response, a claimant can recover damages from the at-fault party or file a claim in a federal or state court.
To speak with experienced sexual harassment attorneys in San Francisco about your own employment rights, please contact Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP by phone or online message.
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