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Sexual harassment is still all too common in today’s workplace. Most of us probably know someone who has been sexually harassed. Yet it’s still shocking when it happens to us or a loved one. Fortunately, California and federal law provide strong remedies to stop harassment and compensate victims for their suffering.

What is sexual harassment?

In California, there are two types of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and quid pro quo. It can be committed by both male and female co-workers and supervisors.

Hostile Work Environment.

Sexual harassment that results in a hostile work environment often include acts such as:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances.
  • Uninvited sexual questions.
  • Telling unwanted sexual jokes or using terms with sexual meanings.
  • Displaying or distributing sexually oriented pictures, images, movies, or email.
  • Making sexually suggestive or lewd physical movements.
  • Inappropriate touching of your body without permission.

Quid Pro Quo.

In quid pro quo sexual harassment, a boss or supervisor demands or attempts to extort sexual acts for employment benefits. Commonly, employers will seek sexual favors for continued employment, a salary raise, or a job promotion. A single incident is enough to support a legal claim.


If you are a victim of sexual harassment, consider taking the following actions:

  • Follow your workplace’s employee handbook procedures that address your concerns.
  • Send a certified letter to your workplace describing the incident.
  • Tell the harasser in clear language that their behavior is not welcome and that it’s harmful.
  • Carefully document and write down all instances of harassment, including dates, times, places, and witnesses. Save all text messages and e-mails that evidence harassment.
  • If you have experienced psychological or physical stress, seek qualified medical help immediately. Speak to your medical doctor or other qualified medical professional.

Every employee, whether male or female, has the right to work in an environment that is free of offensive sexual harassment. Victims often suffer from depression, guilt, anxiety, or other medical issues. If you have questions about sexual harassment in your workplace, please call Optimum Employment Lawyers at (949) 954-8181. We can help you understand how you can stop harassment and hold the perpetrator accountable.