Sexual Discrimination v. Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Although commonly referred to as “Sex Discrimination” Sexual harassment differs from sexual discrimination and the two should not be confused. Cases involving discrimination based on sex refer to a denial of civil rights, job opportunities, raise, employment or a demotion or other mistreatment based on the employee's gender. Sexual harassment on the other hand relates to behavior which is inappropriate or offensive by the employer, managers of the employer or even co-workers (if employer knows about the behavior and does nothing to stop it.) Generally this behavior needs to rise to a level that the employee or a reasonable person would find it offensive; however, it can be as much as lewd comments or inappropriate discussions of sexual nature. If the harasser does not demand sexual favors then what the employee is facing is probably a “hostile work environment” and the claim must be framed with that in mind. Our Orange County hostile work environment attorneys are very familiar with hostile work environment issues and can answer your questions. Sexual harassment can also involve "quid pro quo" claims which basically involve requests for sexual favors in exchange for advancement, more pay or even a promise not to fire the employee. Our office has handled and is currently handling a number of cases involving allegations of hostile work environment or "quid pro quo." According to some reports over 14,000 reports of harassment are reported to the federal government each year and ½ of all women in the work force have been subjected to some form of sexual harassment. Remember that sexual harassment victims can be either men or women. Contact our Los Angeles and Orange County sexual harassment attorneys and lawyers for a free consultation on your case. We have handles cases involving:

  • Hostile work environment
  • Sexual assault, sexual advances, lewd comments
  • Requiring sexual favors for advancement or benefits (“Quid Pro Quo”)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination
  • Failure to correct harassment in the workplace
  • Retaliation for reporting harassment

You should note that by law employers with more than 50 employees are mandated to have sexual harassment training for all of their managers and most businesses have written sexual harassment prevention policies in place. Our San Bernardino sexual harassment attorneys can prepare your case by starting to review the policies in place to make sure that the employer is in compliance with California laws. Click here to learn more about California Fair Employment and Housing Commission's Regulation dealing with mandatory training.

Sexual Discrimination:

Sexual discrimination in California deals with denying an employee certain benefits and rights or mistreating that employee because of that employees sex, gender or sexual orientation. As stated before the main source of law in California for sexual discrimination is the FEHA and the state's Constitution. Fair Employment and Housing Act, FEHA, bans employment and housing discrimination. Following is a link to the Department’s site and a recitation of the FEHA Act. http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Publications_FEHADescr.htm. The California constitution also prohibits discrimination based on sex as against public policy.

Perceived Sexual Orientation:

The discrimination alleged can be based on the employer's perception that the employee might belong to a protected group, even if the employee actually does not. As an example, the employer may perceive the employee to be gay and due to that fact fire him/her or give him/her a lower salary. That employee could potentially have a cause of action for discrimination even if he/she is not in fact gay. Our Orange county sex discrimination lawyers can help you evaluate your sexual harassment or discrimination case over the phone.