California Labor Law Update: Sexual Harassment Protection

Every year, the California legislature passes new employment laws or amendments to already existing laws. These new laws and amendments directly impact the employer-employee relationship as well as impacts the way an employer conducts business in California. There were dozens of new labor laws and changes to existing laws passed in California in 2014.

Sexual Harassment Attorney – Free Consultation

One such amendment to an already existing law, Government Code 12940, clarifies the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. Prior to 2014, due to a 2013 appellate decision, there was some confusion within the California courts as to whether there needs to be sexual desire of the perpetrator to establish a legitimate sexual harassment claim. Senate Bill 292 directly addressed this issue.

Senate Bill 292 was passed by the California legislature in 2013 and went into effect January 1st, 2014. Senate Bill 292 holds that sexual harassment is prohibited under California law without regard to the sexual desire of the perpetrator. The legislature reasoned that like other forms of harassment, sexual harassment does not always need to be motivated by desire, but more often can be motivated by hostility. In addition, by passing this bill, the California legislature effectively suppressed the confusion within the California courts as to whether sexual desire is needed to establish a legitimate sexual harassment claim.

Sexual Motive Not Necessary for Sexual Harassment Cases in California

However, before Senate Bill 292, California courts have long recognized that a sexual motive or desire is not required for legitimate sexual harassment claim. For example, in Pantoja v. Anton, a former employee brought an action against the employer for sex discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Court held that a plaintiff “need not show that the [sexual harassment] conduct was motivated by sexual desire.” Again, more than two decades before Senate Bill 292 was passed, in Mogilegsky v. Superior Court, in which an employee brought action against the employer for same gender sexual harassment by a supervisor, the Court held that “the focus of a cause of action [for sexual harassment] is whether the victim has been subjected to sexual harassment, not what motivated the harasser.”

Ultimately, Senate Bill 292 clarifies what has already been recognized by California courts, that sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act does not require proof of sexual desire towards the plaintiff. At the end of the day, this is a great result for plaintiffs seeking damages due to sexual harassment in the workplace, especially if that harassment is caused simply by hostility and not sexual desire.


Filed under FEHA – Fair Employment & Housing Act, Harassment, Sexual Harassment

4 Responses to California Labor Law Update: Sexual Harassment Protection

  1. It’s hard to find your posts in google. I found it on 14 spot, you should build quality backlinks
    , it will help you to get more visitors. I know how to help
    you, just type in google – k2 seo tips and tricks

  2. Best XYZ These guys rule at XYZ Awesome XYZ Get XYZ here Good place to buy
    XYZ I really like the XYZ at ABC. Also, the team has
    to have an accredited professor heading the team before it
    can be fully registered for the challenge. ‘ Voicemail Transcription – Keeps a log and reads what
    the voicemail says.

  3. Nice post, but as I checked it is not ranking on top 20 of Google.

  4. Nice post stating the changes in the Labor Law for Sexual Harassment cases. If you want to know more about the Employee Rights Law visit Law Offices of Cathe L. Caraway-Howard they represent clients located in California and focuses the area of Employment Law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.