SAN DIEGO EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS
No one should suffer sexual harassment, yet sexual harassment in the workplace is the most common form of harassment employees experience. When people go to work, they should feel comfortable and confident that their place of employment is a safe and fair environment; a place that they can carry out their duties free from harassment.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act was enacted to provide a safe workplace and prohibits both sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
FEMA proscribes two main types of sexual harassment:
Tit-for-tat (Quid pro quo) sexual harassment is the type of harassment people are most familiar with, and typically involves a supervisor conditioning employee benefits, such as promotions, benefits or continuation of employment itself, on the acceptance of the harassment or sexual advances.
Under California law, an employer is strictly liable for harassment by the supervisor. An employee victim of sexual harassment can recover lost wages, emotional distress damages, interest, and attorney’s fees. Punitive damages potentially up to millions of dollars may be awarded as a means to punish or deter the employer if the employer’s officers, directors or managing agents knew or should have known of the conduct.
The second type of sexual harassment is hostile work environment sexual harassment, which consists of harassing conduct that is so pervasive or severe that it creates a hostile work environment for employees. Supervisors, co-workers, and even subordinates can engage in conduct that gives rise to a sexually hostile work environment. Harassing conduct can include sexual slurs, taunts, intimidation, ridicule, groping, grabbing, bullying. Workplace bullying by employers is becoming more common, in particular.