Sexual harassment laws were recently strengthened in California and will provide greater protections for victims. The changes will also provide greater protections against some forms of retaliation in the workplace. As part of the new sexual harassment laws, victims can now sue for a single incident of sexual harassment.
Previously, for sexual harassment to be actionable, it had to fall into one of two categories. One of those categories required the harassment to be severe or pervasive, which usually required a pattern of harassment to be established before a victim could bring a claim. The other type of sexual harassment is referred to as quid pro quo harassment.
Additional protections for workers were also included in the changes to the law. Employers are now prohibited from requiring employees to release claims under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act as a condition of their employment or in exchange for a raise. Additionally, employers cannot require employees to sign non-disparagement agreements that are designed to prevent employees from disclosing illegal acts that take place in their workplace.
It is essential for workers in California to be familiar with the rights and protections they enjoy in the workplace. Because the laws can change, it is also helpful for workers to be familiar with updates to the law and to always be aware of the current protections that may apply to their situation. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.