Workplace sexual harassment and workplace sexual assault can be based on the same facts and circumstances, but generally speaking, sexual harassment is much broader than sexual assault. In other words, sexual harassment can include acts of sexual assault and the occurrence of sexual assault in the workplace can support a claim for sexual harassment, but the two concepts are not necessarily one and the same.

Sexual Harassment Is Broad

Sexual harassment typically comes up in one of two ways. The first type of harassment recognized under California law is called “quid pro quo,” where the harasser tries to use his or her position of power over the victim to extract sexual favors.

“Quid pro quo” sexual harassment typically involves a boss pressuring a subordinate to engage in sexual activity for some type of employment benefit (e.g. “put out or you will be fired”). The second type of harassment recognized under California law is called “hostile work environment harassment.”

Hostile work environment harassment claims are based on conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe or pervasive that it alters the employee’s work environment. A lot of things can qualify as workplace sexual harassment (, particularly of the second type. For example, non-physical conduct, such as staring or leering, or excessive texting, can potentially be relevant to establishing a hostile work environment.

Sexual Assault is Very Specific

Compared to sexual harassment, sexual assault is far more specific. Sexual assault requires actual contact that is sexual in nature and occurs without the consent of the other person. An example of sexual assault might include physical touching of private parts or attempted rape.

How Can I Find A Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near Me?

Victims of sexual harassment and victims of sexual assault would do well to contact a legal professional to discuss the specific circumstances of their case. Each attorney at the Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. is a veteran employment lawyer in Southern California and has tons of experience in employment law. The firm offers complimentary case evaluation and contingency fee services to victims of sexual harassment and victims of sexual assault. The firm is proud of its case results and testimonials.