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It is unlawful in California for anyone at work to make unwelcome comments or engage in unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature toward any other employee at work.  

Sexual Harassment

All persons are entitled to a workplace that is free from unwelcome sexual comments, behavior and actions.  This not only means sexual advances; it can also mean demeaning and derogatory comments based on someone’s gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.   The harassing conduct does not need to be motivated by sexual desire to be considered sexual harassment.


There are generally two types of sexual harassment:


1.  Hostile Work Environment


Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs where an employee is subjected to sexual attention or conduct toward them or others that suffices to create a hostile work environment.  This happens when the conduct “disrupt[s] the victim’s emotional tranquility in the workplace, affect[s] the victim’s ability to perform the job as usual, or otherwise interfere[s] with and undermine[s] the victim’s personal sense of well-being.” Cal Gov. Code § 12923.



What does harassing conduct look like?


Harassing conduct can come in the form of:

verbal conduct

Sexual innuendo, slurs, taunts, ridicule, sexist comments, being ostracized or socially excluded.

physical conduct

Touching, groping, grabbing, physical blocking.

visual harassment

Sexually explicit emails, pornographic images, offensive gestures.


What if it's someone else who's being harassed but it makes me really uncomfortable?

If you are not directly the target of sexual harassment but you witness it, the conduct might have a negative effect on your emotional tranquility, or it might make it harder to do your job, or undermine your sense of well-being at work.  If this is the case, you may also be protected under California Law.


Also, witnessing or experiencing sexual favoritism toward others in the terms and conditions of employment may negatively impact your work environment and be a form of unlawful sexual harassment. 


Does it make a difference if it's my co-worker or my supervisor who is sexually harassing me?

If the harassment is by a co-worker, the employer is liable if a supervisor knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.  If the harassment is by a supervisor, the employer is strictly liable for the sexual harassment. 



2.  Quid Pro Quo Harassment


Quid pro quo or 'this-for-that' harassment occurs when a manager or supervisor asks an employee for a sexual favor in return for an employment benefit, such as a promotion, a raise, a positive job review, or even just not getting fired or not getting a negative review.  Sometimes the perpetrator is engaging in both hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment. 


We'll help you get your power back.

If you feel you have been subjected to a hostile work environment or quid pro quo sexual harassment, call us for a free consultation. Our office generally works on a contingency-fee basis for these claims and we do not collect fees unless we obtain money for you.  Sandra M. Falchetti has been handling sexual harassment cases for almost 20 years.  Our Firm will fight tirelessly to protect and defend the rights of every employee to work in a place that is free from harassment and discrimination. 


We are just a phone call away, and everything you tell us is confidential.  

Call the Falchetti Law Firm at (626) 831-9070  or email a brief summary below.

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