Many people use the terms sexual harassment and sexual discrimination interchangeably, which leads to a great deal of confusion regarding these two different forms of unlawful conduct. The fact that some acts may qualify as both harassment and discrimination does little to clarify the issue; plus, both sexual discrimination and sexual harassment are covered by the same California law: The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The following explanation may help you better understand the differences, since appreciating the distinction can help you realize when it is time to discuss your situation with an experienced sexual harassment and sexual discrimination lawyer in California.
Federal and California law prohibits employers from treating employees unfairly due to their membership in a protected class or because they bear certain characteristics; in a sexual discrimination situation, that trait is gender. When your employer treats you unjustly with respect to job-related factors, the conduct may be a violation of your civil rights. Specific examples include:
Offensive, obnoxious acts that are directed at one person fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment. There are two types of acts prohibited by California and federal law:
Note that some of these actions may also be discriminatory, but sexual harassment is distinct because is it both harassing and sexual in nature.
While this description of the differences between sexual discrimination and harassment should be useful, it may not be enough to help you understand how the laws impact your rights as a victim and an employee. For more information on your legal options, please contact the knowledgeable sexual discrimination attorneys at Minnis & Smallets, LLP by calling 1-415-551-0885. You can also check out our website to set up a consultation or learn more about our employment law services in San Francisco and throughout California’s Bay Area.
If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.
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