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sexual harassment in california

The Bill Cosby publicity & many others, have ignited the #MeToo movement, providing women with a forum grounded by social media sharing their sexual harassment abuses in the workplace.
Sexual harassment and Discrimination are simply illegal under both Ca.state and federal law.
Sexual harassment has a broad category of negative areas, from unwelcome conduct, lewd jokes, gropingand suggesting promises in exchange for sexual favors.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act bans sexual harassment in the workplace. 
Applicants, employees, independent contractors, unpaid interns, and those with which an employer has a professional relationship (such as clients and vendors) are all protected by this law.
Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 forbids sexual harassment. This law applies to companies with 15 or more employees.



It is a requirement for California since 2005 for employers to provide training sexual harassment education and provide employees with the tools to prevent workplace harassment issues.
This training ( 2 hrs. ),is required every two years for managers working for employers with 50 or more employees anindependent contractors.Starting in 2019 all employees must receive preventive Harassment educational training.The training must take place within 6 months of being hired. SB 1343 which passed in Ca., Oct. 2018, changes  existing training laws, & now requires employers with five or more employees to provide non-supervisory employees with a minimum of one-hour of Harassment prevention training every two years, in addition to requiring employers to provide two hours of the bi-annual management training for sexual harassment and bullying.



Hostile work environment . . . . 

Hostile work environment issues occur when an employee is subjected to frequent sexual comments, groping or unwelcome conduct, of a persistent nature. This may include off color jokes, offensive computer material, groping, and social media exploitation. One time events or isolated frequency, does not necessarily count as sexual harassment. The bottom line is that the abusive actions must be pervasive, frequent, and unwanted.


Quid pro quo . . . . 

Quid pro quo typically occurs between a owner, or manager and the office employee. The manager may ask the hourly employee for sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits, such as promotions. This most frequently is between a person with business related leverage , or "power", with a high level of influence, targeting and attempting to seduce ,or intimate a lessor employee. The Hollywood movie environment would be a perfect example, of this power structure.



Employees owners, or managers can initiate sexual harassment. If a workplace employee causes the sexual harassment, the employer will be held legally responsible, if the manager did not take immediate and appropriate action to remedy the situation.
If the manager causes the sexual harassment, the employer faces strict liability under California law.  
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows the employer to escape liability if the following situations have occurred:
  • No tangible employment actions were taken against the victim;
  • The employer took reasonable and appropriate action to prevent and correct the abusive behavior.
  • The victim, who had knowledge of the complaint process, and Ca. preventive training, did not take advantage of the complaint process and the opportunities available to correct the situation.


In the perfect workplacethe employer will take a harassment claim seriously and work quickly to resolve it, which is certainly in the companies best interest.However, if the employer does nothing and the harassment continues, the environment may become so stressful, creating a "hostile work environment" , which multiplies the issues.
The employee could easily suffer physical discomfort, and mental anguish from the harassment. 
 It is quite possible that the employee could recover damages from the harassment endured, such as mental anguish, job loss, and lost wages. 
No employee should be afraid to come to work because of sexual harassment. A workplace with a "Zero Tolerance" for abuses is the only solution. If you are a victim of harassment, it's important that you inform your manager, so that the appropriate steps can be taken to remedy the situation immediately.
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Of the 90 percent of transgender workers who faced discrimination at work, about a fourth were forced to use restrooms that did not match their gender identity, were told to dress, act and present as a different gender from their own in order to keep their job, or had a boss or coworker share private information about their transgender status without their permission.


Harassment Online Training Demo

More than 70 percent of transgender respondents said they had to hide their gender identity, delay their transition, or quit their job due to fear of negative repercussions.

Moreover, over 50 percent of all LGBT people face lower wages, have difficulty finding jobs, are denied promotions, and are fired from jobs due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to FBI data, hate crimes increased this year. And LGBT people are more likely to be targets of a hate crime than any other minority group.

The study also showed that on average, “gay men earn from 10 to 32 percent less than similarly qualified heterosexual males,” and LGBT adults experience higher poverty rates than heterosexual people. And according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people are three times as likely to be unemployed and twice as likely to live in poverty compared to general rates in the U.S.

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Source Full Article SB396

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