San Bernardino Sexual Harassment Lawyer

What Is Sexual Harassment?

It is unlawful to harass an employee because of their sex, California Government Code Section 12940(j)(1). Sexually harassing behavior includes :

  1. Sexual favors;
  2. Unwanted sexual advances and propositions;
  3. Verbal conduct, including epithets, slurs or derogatory comments, and comments about a person's body, appearance, or sexual activity;
  4. Physical conduct including assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement; or
  5. Visual harassing including leering looks, offensive gestures whether or not the harassment also results in the loss of a tangible job benefit, [underlining added for emphasis] 2 California code of regulations section 7287.6(b); Fisher v. San Pedro Peninsula Hosp., 214 cal.App.3d 590, 608 (2nd app. Dist. 1989).

Please give us a call at 877-525-0700 to consult with one of our Sexual Harassment lawyers.

Sexual Harassment Does Not Have To Be Motivated By Sex

Effective January 1, 2014, sexual harassment does not have to be motivated by sexual desire. The new version of California's anti-sexual harassment law reads, "Harassment" because of sex includes sexual harassment, gender harassment, and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Sexually harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire. An earlier version of the bill had indicated the harasser's intent in engaging in the sexually inappropriate conduct was not the issue in determining whether conduct was sexual harassment.

While sexual harassment is often motivated by the harasser's interest in gaining sex or a date from the harasser, the Employment Lawyers Group has handled many sexual harassment cases in which the sexual harasser's motivation was not actual sex. Sexual harassment is often about subjugation, control, and abuse of power.

Cases confusing whether something overtly sexual was sexual harassment began in the 1990s in a male on male sexual harassment case. Various courts could not grasp there are many men who are married, but also engage in sexual practices with other men or want to. In these cases the harassers tried to claim buttocks touching and similar sexually offensive conduct was not sexual harassment because they were straight men.

Ultimately, California law was amended due to an atrociously decided 2011 Northern California sexual harassment case in which a court of appeals absurdly concluded the male on male behavior was not sexual harassment. The sexually harassing events included the supervisor telling the employee he had a nice ass when he bent down, he would look good in little girls' clothes, he would fuck the employee better than his old lady, he was where he belonged when on his knees, and told him to suck his dick when he was in his face. The supervisor claimed these were all funny jokes. They had overt sexual connotations. Whether the supervisor was gay or not was not important. The supervisor said and did the exact sort of things to an employee that normally constitutes sexual harassment. All of these things were offensive due to sex. Demonstrating the conduct was severe, the harassed employee reported it to his safety manager. The employee was even retaliated against by being called a narc, snitch, and faggot. He was told he was lucky his ass was not kicked after work. The intent of the amendment was to de-publish this case and make sure it was not the law on sexual harassment in California.

Overtly sexual comments made to an employee are sexual harassment. There are plenty of ways to demean an employee, taunt them, or make fun of them in a non-sexual manner. If the taunting has overt sexual overtures it is sexual harassment. Regardless, touching an employee on their buttocks is sexually offensive regardless of what the intention is. Touching a female's breasts without her consent is sexual harassment regardless of what the co-employee is thinking. Making odd comments about the sexual properties of an employee's bodies such as "Nice ass" is harassing and related to a sexual part of one's body.

Your Employer Has An Obligation To Cause Sexual Harassment To Stop

Employers must take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment, California Government Code Sections 12940(j); Baker v. Mckenzie, 63 cal.4th 1128, 1157 (1998); Casenas v. Fujisawa, 58 cal.App.4th 101 (1997); doe, 50 cal.4th 1038, 1053 (1996); Steiner v. Showboat Operating Co., 25 f.3d 1459, 1464 (1994); Fuller v. City of Oakland, 47 f.3d 1522, 1528 (9th cir. 1995). If harassment has occurred, the duty to maintain a harassment-free work environment requires the employer to take remedial action not only to change the harasser's behavior, but to deter potential harassers from unlawful conduct, Intlekofer v. Turnage, 973 f.2d 773, 778 (9th cir. 1992).

Reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring include :

  1. Affirmatively raising the issue of harassment;
  2. Expressing strong disapproval of harassment;
  3. Developing appropriate sanctions against harassment;
  4. Informing employees of their rights and instructing them to report harassment, 2 California code of regulations 7287.6(b)(2)-(3).

Ontario, California Sexual Harassment Investigations

Bradley v. Dept. Of Corrections, 71 cal.Rptr.3d 222 (2008) requires that the employer's sexual harassment investigator must understand, and the investigation must ultimately, be aimed at 1) Determining fault; 2) Ensuring the claimant is safe from harassment; 3) To determine what steps are needed to stop the harassment, Id. Merely listening to the claimant is not enough, Id.

Employees who are fired for complaining of sexual harassment, or due to their participation in a sexual harassment investigation, may sue under the fair employment and housing act for the loss of in a their employment, California Government Code Section 12940(h).

Do not hold back facts if you are making a sexual harassment complaint. Provide as much information as possible, or you will later be accused of not mentioning a critical aspect of the sexual harassment that was perpetrated.

If you are involved sexual harassment investigation, be careful about naming witnesses. If you are not sure if somebody saw something, do not claim they are a witness. If there are witnesses who are ex-employees or family members be sure to tell the employer about these people, and offer access to any non-employees you have contact information for but your employer may not.

If you are involved in a sexual harassment investigation, be careful about naming witnesses. If you are not sure if somebody saw something, do not claim they are a witness. If there are witnesses who are ex-employees or family members be sure to tell the employer about these people, and offer access to any non-employees you have contact information for but your employer may not.

Your San Bernardino Sexual Harassment Attorneys

No one should be forced to put up with sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are dealing with offensive sexual behavior at work, contact us to discuss your case and your options. You may be entitled to financial compensation.

Karl Gerber and his attorneys at the employment lawyers group have extensive experience helping men and women who have experienced sexual harassment at work. In Southern California, we have offices in San Bernardino, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles and Oxnard, Bakersfield, and Orange and we handle cases in all parts of California.

Sexual harassment is different from discrimination in that it involves offensive touching or comments. There are multiple types of sexual harassment:

  1. Quid pro quo, which means demanding sexual favors in exchange for a benefit at work such as a promotion or continued employment.
  2. Hostile work environment, which may include making dirty jokes, discussing sex or body parts in the workplace, or distributing offensive e-mails.
  3. Physical sexual harassment which involves touching.

Sexual harassment claims may include same-sex harassment, co-worker harassment or harassment by a supervisor. Your employer has a duty to investigate sexual harassment claims and could be found liable if it fails to do so. If your employer retaliates against you for filing a sexual harassment complaint or for supporting another's claim, you may have a separate retaliation claim against your employer.

Sexual harassment is a serious concern in the work environment and should not be taken lightly. Contact us to help with your case. We are your San Bernardino Employment Lawyers serving: Apple Valley, Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Hesperia, Highland, Montclair, Ontario, Ranchco Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, Upland, and Victorville.

Contact an Upland sexual harassment attorney. To speak with a San Bernardino sexual harassment lawyer, call 877-525-0700 toll free. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis with no upfront costs. Se habla Español.