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Quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environments

California employees might be the victims of two different but related types of sexual harassment in the workplace at the same time. Hostile workplace harassment may involve creating a difficult work environment for a person through comments or behavior while quid pro quo harassment refers to a worker suffering a consequence such as demotion or firing after refusing a supervisor's sexual advances.

Sexual harassment in the workplace

In California, employers are responsible for creating safe workplace environments. This includes sexual harassment, which includes any unwelcome advances or conduct that is sexual in nature. When sexual harassment incidents occur at work, some employees may find that the workplace becomes intimidating, offensive or even hostile.

Sexual harassment in the workplace takes many forms

Workers in California and around the country are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the courts have recognized various types of this kind of harassment. Quid-pro-quo- sexual harassment takes place when workers are required to have sex or enter into romantic relationships with their supervisors in order to keep their jobs or secure some sort of benefit such as a promotion or raise. Sexual harassment also occurs when offensive behavior is tolerated and workplaces become hostile environments, and discriminatory hiring and promotion practices also violate Title VII.

Attitudes toward sexual harassment over the decades

Although 98 percent of businesses have policies in place against sexual harassment and more than two-thirds of companies provide training aimed at recognizing and discouraging this behavior, there is evidence that the problem has not significantly improved over the decades. In 1980, the Harvard Business Review conducted a survey about sexual harassment among its subscribers. California workers and those throughout the country may be interested in learning that the study found that two times as many men as women considered the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace to be overblown.

Class-action lawsuit filed against jewelry company

California employees may be interested in learning that the discrimination claims that were filed against Sterling Jewelry Co. have developed into a class-action lawsuit. The claims are all centered around the management and the work culture they developed that was demeaning to female employees.

Women accuse jewelry company of sexual harassment

Diamonds might be called a girl's best friend, but 1,300 pages of sworn testimony from a class-action arbitration case against Sterling Jewelers Inc. allege that female employees experienced widespread sexual harassment. The company operates jewelry stores in malls throughout California and the country, and the attorney for the plaintiffs described the extent of the evidence against the company as "breathtaking".

Sexual harassment lawsuit against Dollar General

A lawsuit has been filed against Dollar General Stores, the fast-growing discount retailer that has more than 13,000 store locations in 43 states including California. According to the lawsuit, which was filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company violated federal law when it exposed its female employees to sexual harassment.

Workplace sexual harassment can get complicated

Employers in California have a duty to protect their employees from workplace sexual harassment, no matter who is doing the harassing. Unwanted sexual comments or touching often come from supervisors or coworkers, but inappropriate behavior could also come from outside contractors or customers. Wherever sexual harassment originates, an employer must take action to stop it and prevent it from reoccurring.

Dealing with workplace sexual harassment

Despite the many gains women have made in workplace equality, the problem of sexual harassment remains very real. Harassment takes many forms and can affect women across a variety of industries. It is important for California employees to understand the steps they need to take to protect themselves from this type of illegal behavior.

Lessons from Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit against Fox News

California residents may be familiar with the lawsuit filed earlier in 2016 by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. Her suit, which alleged sexual harassment committed by Roger Ailes, the network's then-CEO, was settled by Fox for a reported $20 million. There are several things to learn from Carlson's lawsuit.

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