Is Sexual Harassment a Crime in California?

Sexual harassment occurs in the workplace more often than you may think. While being sexually harassed at work violates the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and is a form of discrimination, it’s not considered a crime. Unless, however, the harassment turns into sexual assault. Even though sexual harassment isn’t a crime, you can still file a lawsuit against your harasser. Here’s what you need to know.

The Two Types of Sexual Harassment

There are two forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, and they are defined as the following:

  • Quid Pro Quo
    Latin for “this for that,” quid pro quo occurs when a supervisor outwardly asks or hints for sexual favors in return for employee benefits (i.e., bonuses, raises, promotions).
  • Hostile Work Environment
    Being subjected to a hostile work environment is not only uncomfortable but can also make someone feel threatened. A hostile work environment can be created by supervisors, co-workers, clients, or business-related associates.

Warning Signs of Sexual Harassment

There are many red flags of sexual harassment in the workplace, and ignoring the warning signs won’t necessarily make it stop. Here are some common ways harassers intimidate their victims:

  • Being “touchy” or standing too close.
  • Commenting inappropriately about your body or clothing.
  • Talking about their sexual experiences and asking you about yours.
  • Frequently asking to meet outside fo work ornon-stop invitations for dates even after you’ve turned them down repeatedly.
  • Shares pornographic materials.
  • Attempts to engage you in sexually-charged conversations.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Harassment

If you are being harassed repeatedly at work even after reporting the incidents to your supervisor and human resources, you may have no other recourse than to pursue legal action. When suing for sexual harassment, it’s critical that you record and document the details of each incident should a lawsuit be necessary.

We understand speaking out against your harasser can be intimidating, but we are here to help. Contact Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP at (213) 267-3640 learn more about your rights as a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.