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Sexual Harassment at Work

Sexual harassment involves unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Some examples of sexual harassment include leering, sexual gestures, showing an employee sexual photographs, cartoons or posters or objects of a sexual nature, unwanted touching, assault, battery of a sexual nature, impeding or blocking movement, sexual comments, slurs, epithets or jokes, using sexually degrading speech, making comments about someone’s body, offering work benefits for sexual acts or favors, and, threatening or taking retaliatory action after receipt of a negative response to unwanted sexual advances.  Sexual harassment can be broken down into two different classifications:

  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment - involves the exchange of workplace benefits for sexual favors or the request for the exchange of benefits for sexual favors. For example, if a supervisor said “sleep with me and I will give you a raise” then you would, unfortunately, be experiencing illegal quid pro quo sexual harassment.
  • Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment - consists of conduct that is pervasive or severe. The conduct does not necessarily have to be directed at an individual employee, but it does have to be something that creates a hostile work environment such as unwelcome sexual advances, conduct or comments. This type of harassment is differentiated from quid pro quo harassment because there is no exchange of a benefit or detriment for sexual favors such as a promotion. In this situation an employee often suffers from a demotion, termination or denial of other benefits, usually for reporting the problem. An employer can escape liability if it can show that it had no knowledge of the employee being harassed or if the employer took corrective action and promptly remedied the problem.

What is Prevailing Wage?

Under California law prevailing wage rates are set by statute for contractors and sub-contractors that perform work on state, municipal and local public works projects

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