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State and federal employment laws now offer more protection against sexual harassment than ever before. In spite of this, sexual harassment continues to occur in workplaces throughout California. It is important for California employees to enforce their legal right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace, and the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Mara Law Firm can help to defend this right for you. We have helped many employees prove that they were victims of illegal harassment in order to get the compensation they are owed. Call (619) 234-2833 today to schedule your free consultation.

How sexual harassment is defined under federal law

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission reports that sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is because the Civil Rights Act prohibits sex discrimination in employment. When you are sexually harassed in the workplace, the terms and conditions of your employment are changed based upon your sex, and this is a prohibited form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act applies to United States employers with fifteen or more employees. It also applied to state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, and the federal government. It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting a violation of federal sexual harassment laws.

How sexual harassment is defined under state law in California

State law also prohibits sexual harassment in the California Fair Housing and Employment Act. The Office of the Attorney General reports that, under California law, the offensive conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire. It can be based upon an employee’s actual or perceived sex or gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, and/or pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This definition is broader than the federal definition of sexual harassment. This means that a wider variety of conduct is prohibited in California workplaces, and there are more behaviors that will qualify for a sexual harassment claim. California has recently enacted many specific protections for gender identity in the workplace as well. These, too, establish prohibited forms of sexual harassment that are not banned under federal law.

Experienced sexual harassment attorneys for California employment discrimination cases

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you have legal rights that must be protected. It is also important to hold harassers accountable in order to protect other victims from being subject to illegal sexual harassment in the future. Our experienced sexual harassment attorneys can help you fight sexual harassment to make the workplace safer for everyone. Call (619) 234-2833 today to schedule your free consultation with a California employment law attorney at the Mara Law Firm.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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