Sexual harassment is a violation Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to private and public employers with fifteen or more employees. The harassment can be physical or verbal and may consist of unwanted sexual advances, demands or repeated requests for performance of sex acts, persistent use of remarks or questions concerning a person’s sexual preference or habits or about one’s anatomy, or comments or jokes demeaning to a person’s gender. It is more than an isolated or occasional instance, but must be shown to create a work environment that is hostile, offensive, or intimidating.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is the federal agency that deals with complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or DFHE, is the state agency that deals with sexual harassment complaints.


  • Although many people associate sexual harassment with behavior of men directed toward women, the harasser or the victim can be either a man or a woman; they may be of different sexes or the same sex.
  • The person doing the harassing may be your supervisor, another supervisor in the company, a co-worker, an agent of your employer, or another person associated with the company who is not an employee.
  • You don’t need to be to be the person directly being sexually harassed if you are being affected by the offensive behavior.
  • You can make a claim for sexual harassment even if you have not suffered economic damages or been fired.
  • The harassing behavior must be unwanted.

If someone at your place of employment is subjecting you or others to behavior that you consider unwanted sexual harassment, the first thing you need to do is inform the person that the behavior is unwelcome and demand that it stop. If it doesn’t, you will need to make the employer aware of it, using the company’s stated grievance procedure. If that doesn’t end it, it is time to consult with one of our experienced employment attorneys, who will help you file an EEOC or DFEH complaint — a required first step — and a lawsuit against your company.


If you live and work in California and are being subjected to sexual harassment at work, schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced sexual harassment attorneys at the law firm of Haeggquist, & Eck. We are firmly committed to fairness for everyone in the workplace and have helped many victims of sexual harassment, both men and women, pursue claims against employers who perpetrate or tolerate this behavior.  If you wait too long, you could lose your right to sue; call for an appointment today at 619-342-8000.