What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Los Angeles employment law provides employees with protection against behaviors and actions which constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is best defined as: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or physical conduct of a sexual nature when

Submission is made a condition of the individual’s employment
Compliance is used as a basis for employment decisions
Unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance creating an intimidating or hostile work environment
It is important to note that unwelcome behavior does not mean the same thing as involuntary behavior. Sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person being subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Some people consider their inappropriate actions to be harmless horseplay but sexual harassment of any form is illegal. Companies should have a standing sexual harassment policy and employees who feel they have been the victim of sexual harassment should make a good-faith effort to resolve complaints within the existing policy.

Sexual harassment comprises both verbal and physical conduct and may include:

Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
Pressure for sexual favors
Sexual looks or gestures
Letters, phone calls, emails, text messages or materials of a sexual nature
Pressure for dates
Sexual teasing, joking, and remarks
Using references such as babe, sexy, doll, honey, etc.
Whistling, cat calls, sexual comments, topics or innuendos
These and other improper behaviors violate California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In determining whether harassment has occurred, one should examine the entirety of circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advance and the context in which the incidents occurred. Sexual harassment occurs when an employee does not solicit or initiate the sexual behavior and the employee regards the behavior as undesirable and offensive. Business owners should provide appropriate and up-to-date training regarding recent changes to sexual harassment law in order to avoid potential problems in the future. A Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney may visit the place of business to educate employees regarding how to avoid problems with sexual harassment accusations.