TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
  PREFACE............................................................................................................................................................................... i  
  INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................................................... iii  
       
  CHAPTER ONE. WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?..................................................................................................... 1  
 
I. Overview.......................................................................................................................................................................... 1
II. Distinction Between Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination.............................................................. 2
III. Examples of Sexual Harassment.............................................................................................................................. 4
IV. Examples of Gender Discrimination......................................................................................................................... 8
V. Controlling Law............................................................................................................................................................... 9
VI. Questions and Answers on Specific Examples of Workplace Behavior............................................................. 11
 
  Is teasing sexual harassment?.................................................................................. 12
  If an employee eventually has a consensual relationship with the harasser, is it still sexual harassment? .......................................................... 13
  Can I sue someone for sexual harassment after ending a consensual relationship?..................... 13
  Can one incident constitute sexual harassment?...................................................... 14
  My coworker flirts with me at work even through I wish he would not. It makes me uncomfortable. Is this sexual harassment?....................................................................... 15
  Can favoritism for one employee due to sexual favors be actionable by other employees? 16
     
VII. Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................................... 16
     
CHAPTER TWO. QUID PRO QUO SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT SEXUAL HARASSMENT ....................................................................................................................................................................... 17
     
I. Introduction.................................................................................................................................................................... 17
II. What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?........................................................................................................... 18
 
A.   What Must You Show to Prevail on a Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim?.................................... 19
  Case In Point: Unwanted Sexual Propositions in Exchange for Offer of Promotion ................................ 21
III. What is Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment? ................................................................................... 23
 
A.   What Must You Show To Prevail on a Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claim?........... 25
IV. What is Not a Hostile Work Environment?................................................................................................................ 25
 
  Case In Point: The Friends Case .................................................................................................................... 26
V. Harassment Must Be Based on Gender............................................................................................................... 28
 
A.   Hostile Work Environment Must Be Based on Gender, But Need Not Necessarily Be Sexual in Nature ............................................................................................................................ 29
  Case In Point: Yelling in the Workplace .................................................................................... 30
VI. Sufficiently Severe or Pervasive 32
 
A.   What is Sufficiently Severe? ........................................................................................................................... 33
B.   What is Sufficiently Pervasive?......................................................................................................................... 34
C.   Is a Single Incident Enough?............................................................................................................................ 35
D.   Look at the Totality of the Circumstances....................................................................................................... 38
E.   Conduct Sufficiently Severe or Pervasive to Create an Unlawful Hostile Work Environment ............... 40
   
Case In Point: Coerced Sexual Behavior .............................................................................................. 40
Case In Point: Foul Language................................................................................................................. 41
Case In Point: Offensive Sexual References ....................................................................................... 41
Case In Point: Pornographic Pictures ................................................................................................... 42
Case In Point: Nicknames and Centerfolds ......................................................................................... 42
Case In Point: Threatening Stares ......................................................................................................... 42
Case In Point: Verbal Abuse and Touching........................................................................................... 45
Case In Point: Preferential Treatment for Submission ...................................................................... 45
Case In Point: Repeated Requests for Sex .......................................................................................... 46
Case In Point: Vulgar Slurs....................................................................................................................... 47
F.   Conduct Not Sufficiently Severe or Pervasive to Create an Unlawful Hostile Work Environment ....... 47
   
Case In Point: Rude and Inappropriate Behavior.................................................................................. 47
Case In Point: Offensive Artwork ............................................................................................................. 50
Case In Point: Single Proposition ........................................................................................................... 53
Case In Point: Vulgarity and Nude Pictures............................................................................................ 53
Case In Point: Winks and Proposition.................................................................................................... 53
Case In Point: Touching Hair.................................................................................................................... 53
VII. Indirect Victims................................................................................................................................................................ 54
 
A.   Where Harassing Behavior Is Not Directed To Offended Employee.......................................................... 54
B.   Favoritism in the Workplace Can Constitute Unlawful Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment of Non-Participating Coworkers ............................................................................................... 55
VIII. Same-Sex Harassment................................................................................................................................................ 57
 
A.   Harasser Same Sex as Victim ......................................................................................................................... 57
  Case In Point: Same-Sex Harassment ........................................................................................................... 58
IX. Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................................... 60
     
CHAPTER THREE. GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION: STEREOTYPES AND PREGNANCY .................................... 62
     
I. Introduction..................................................................................................................................................................... 62
II. What is Gender Discrimination?................................................................................................................................ 63
 
  Case In Point: Acting “Like a Lady” .................................................................................................................. 63
  Case In Point: Women with Children .............................................................................................................. 64
A.   Gender Stereotypes: Disparate Treatment...................................................................................................... 64
  1. Proving Disparate Treatment: The Prima Facie Case .................................................................................. 65
  2. Mixed Motives......................................................................................................................................................... 69
  3. Same Actor Evidence........................................................................................................................................... 70
III. Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation............................................................................................................ 71
IV. Discrimination Based on Pregnancy or Potential Pregnancy................................................................................ 72
 
  Case In Point: Discrimination Based on Potential for Future Pregnancy is Unlawful ............................ 73
  Case In Point: Facts Found to Constitute Pregnancy Discrimination ........................................................ 73
V. Pregnancy Leave........................................................................................................................................................... 74
 
A.   Family Medical Leave Act of 1993...................................................................................................................... 75
  1. Eligibility ................................................................................................................................................................. 76
  2. Restoration of Position........................................................................................................................................ 76
B.   California Pregnancy Disability Leave.............................................................................................................. 77
  1. Eligibility ................................................................................................................................................................. 78
  2. Disability Requirement........................................................................................................................................ 79
  3. Job Transfer........................................................................................................................................................... 80
  4. Reinstatement....................................................................................................................................................... 81
  5. Denial of Leave...................................................................................................................................................... 82
C.   California Family Rights Act................................................................................................................................ 83
  1. Eligibility................................................................................................................................................................. 83
  2. Relationship Between CFRA and PDL............................................................................................................ 84
   
Case In Point: Leave Policy May Differentiate Between Work-Related and Non-Work-Related
  Disabilities, Such as Pregnancy................................................................................................................
85
VI. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 87
     
CHAPTER FOUR. STEPS THE VICTIM CAN TAKE TO CONTEND WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT ........................... 88
     
I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................................... 88
II. Know Your Rights.......................................................................................................................................................... 89
III. Tell the Harasser to Stop.............................................................................................................................................. 89
IV. Report the Incident to a Supervisor or to the Human Resources Department ................................................. 90
 
A.   Is a Sexual Harassment Victim Required to Make a Complaint to the Employer? ................................. 90
V. Coping with the Stressful Effects of Sexual Harassment....................................................................................... 91
VI. Seek Professional Medical Help................................................................................................................................ 94
VII. Document the Harassment.......................................................................................................................................... 95
VIII. Proving the Harassing Conduct was Unwanted...................................................................................................... 95
 
  Case In Point: Even If Victim’s Conduct was Voluntary, This Does Not Mean the Advances Were Welcome ................................................................................................................................................................ 96
  Case In Point: Victim’s Dress and Behavior Relevant to Determination of Whether Advances Were Unwanted ............................................................................................................................................................... 97
IX. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 98
     
CHAPTER FIVE. EMPLOYER AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES .............................................................................. 101
     
I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................................... 101
II. Number of Employees Required for Employer Responsibility ............................................................................ 104
 
A.   California Law: One Employee Required for Sexual Harassment, But Five for Discrimination............ 104
B.   Federal Law: Fifteen Employees Required .................................................................................................... 105
III. Preventive Measures Required by Employers.......................................................................................................... 105
IV. Who is Liable for Sexual Harassment?..................................................................................................................... 108
 
A.   Summary of Liability........................................................................................................................................... 109
  1. Employer Liability................................................................................................................................................ 109
  Case In Point: Employer Liable for Harassment of Prison Employee by Prison Inmates................... 113
  2. Individual Liability............................................................................................................................................... 116
B.   What is a “Supervisor”?.................................................................................................................................... 118
  Case In Point: Person Need Not Be Wholly Responsible for Employee’s Work Product to be Considered Supervisor Under FEHA ............................................................................................................. 120
C.   Liability for Off-Duty Harassment..................................................................................................................... 121
  Case In Point: Employer Avoids Strict Liability When Harassment Results From Private Relationship Unconnected with Employment ............................................................................................. 121
  Case In Point: Employer Must Take Immediate and Appropriate Corrective Action When Employee Suffers Off-Duty Stalking Plus Less Severe On-Duty Harassment .......................................................... 123
D.   No Individual Liability for Retaliation or Discrimination .............................................................................. 125
  Case In Point: Generally, No Individual Liability For Retaliation ............................................................... 125
V. Affirmative Defenses Limiting Liability for Damages When the Victim Delays Reporting the Harassment 127
 
A.   California Avoidable Consequences Defense................................................................................................ 127
  Case In Point: California Affirmative Defense For Harassment Cases .................................................... 129
B.   Federal Defense for Limiting Liability For Damages..................................................................................... 133
  Case In Point: Ellerth/Faragher Affirmative Defense Under Federal Law................................................. 134
VI. Punitive Damages......................................................................................................................................................... 135
 
A.   California Law........................................................................................................................................................ 136
B.   Federal Law ........................................................................................................................................................... 136
VII. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 137
     
CHAPTER SIX. RETALIATION.............................................................................................................................................. 139
     
I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................................... 139
II. What is Retaliation?....................................................................................................................................................... 140
III. Proving Retaliation........................................................................................................................................................ 142
 
  Case In Point: Totality of the Circumstances Must Be Considered When Determining Whether an Adverse Employment Action Has Been Taken .............................................................................................. 142
  Case In Point: United States Supreme Court Rules That Retaliation Includes Acts That Deter Reporting............................................................................................................................................................... 146
  Case In Point: Protected Activity Under FEHA: Employee Need Not Necessarily Make a Specific Complaint to the Employer for a Finding of Retaliation ................................................................................ 148
IV. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 150
     
CHAPTER SEVEN. INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AND OTHER TORTS THE HARASSER MAY HAVE COMMITTED ........................................................................................................................................................................... 152
     
I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................................... 152
II. . Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress ............................................................................................................. 154
 
A.   Common Law Verses Emotional Distress as Part of Damages for Sexual Harassment Claim ........ 155
B.   Emotional Distress and Workers’ Compensation Law ................................................................................ 156
III. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress................................................................................................................. 158
 
A.   Emotional Distress and Discovery.................................................................................................................... 158
IV. Assault and Battery......................................................................................................................................................... 160
V. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 160
     
CHAPTER EIGHT. SO I HAVE A CASE, WHAT NOW? ...................................................................................................... 162
     
I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................................... 162
II. Consulting an Attorney.................................................................................................................................................. 163
 
A.   Administrative Hearings as a Possible Alternative to Litigation in Civil Court .......................................... 164
III. Immediate Next Steps .................................................................................................................................................. 166
 
A.   Administrative Agency Complaint Requirements .......................................................................................... 166
  1 Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies.......................................................................................................... 167
  Cases In Point: Sufficient Facts in Complaint ................................................................................................ 168
  Case In Point: Sufficiency of Filing For a Charge........................................................................................... 170
B.   Right to Sue Letter Required.............................................................................................................................. 171
C.   Caution Ahead: Statute of Limitations.............................................................................................................. 171
  1. Continuing Violations Doctrine.......................................................................................................................... 172
  Case In Point: Continuing Violations Doctrine Applied Where Victim Alleged 11-Year Pattern of Sexual Harassment ........................................................................................................................................... 173
  Case In Point: Continuing Violations Doctrine and Retaliation ................................................................. 174
IV. Contractual Arbitration................................................................................................................................................. 176
 
  Case In Point: Mandatory Arbitration Agreement Enforceable Only if Fairness Requirements Met.... 177
  Case In Point: Consent to Arbitration Agreement Required ....................................................................... 178
V. Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................................... 179
     
FINAL ADVICE.......................................................................................................................................................................... 181
   
APPENDIX A: Selected Sections of the Fair Employment and Housing Act ........................................................... 183
 
Cal. Gov. Code § 12926. Definitions Regarding Unlawful Practices (selected provisions)...................... 184
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (c) “Employee”..................................................................................................... 184
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (d) “Employer....................................................................................................... 184
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (p) “Sex”................................................................................................................. 184
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (q) “Sexual Orientation” ..................................................................................... 184
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (r) “Supervisor”.................................................................................................... 184
Cal. Gov. Code § 12940. Unlawful Employment Practices (selected provisions)...................................... 184
Cal. Gov. Code § 12945. Pregnancy Disability Leave (selected provisions)............................................... 187
Cal. Gov. Code § 129245.2. Family Rights Act (selected provisions) .......................................................... 188
     
APPENDIX B: Selected Sections of Title VII.................................................................................................................... 192
 
42 U.S.C §2000e. Definitions (selected provisions) ....................................................................................... 193
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (c) “person”.......................................................................................................... 193
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (d) “employer”....................................................................................................... 193
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (p) "employee”...................................................................................................... 193
    Cal. Gov. Code § 12926 (q) “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” ............................................... 193
42 U.S.C § 2000e-2. Unlawful Employment Practices (selected provisions) ...................................... 194
     
ENDNOTES OF CITATIONS................................................................................................................................................... 195
     
       
       
 
   
 
 
© 2008 Broderick Law Firm, Inc.
Sexual Harassment Lawyer | Links | Contact Us | Site Map  
   
  Designed by: