Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
According to California’s Fair Employment and Housing website:
State regulations define sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. The following is a partial list of prohibited behavior:
- Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters.
- Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs and jokes. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual.
- Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements.
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
- Making or threatening retaliatory action after receiving a negative response to sexual advances.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex/gender, race, color, national origin, and religion. It generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. Title VII also applies to private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA):
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental and physical disability, medical condition, age, pregnancy, denial of medical and family care leave, or pregnancy disability leave and/or retaliation for protesting illegal discrimination related to one of these categories, or for reporting patient abuse in tax supported institutions. You may file a private lawsuit under the Fair Employment & Housing Act.
If you have any questions or if you believe your rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.