What you need to know as both an employee and as an employer in regards to strict liability for sexual harassment

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) it is unlawful for an employer or any other person, because of sex or sexual orientation, to harass an employee. Under certain circumstances, an employer will be liable for acts of an employee that amount to sexual harassment:

FEHA imposes two standards of employer liability for sexual harassment, depending on whether the person engaging in the harassment is the victim’s supervisor or a nonsupervisory co-employee. In California, employers are strictly liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor. Kelly-Zurian v. Wohl Shoe Co. (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 397, 415-16. This means that an employer will be liable for the actions of a supervisor-employee that amount to sexual harassment, only when the employee acting within their capacity as a supervisor.

Furthermore, when the harasser is a supervisor, an employer is strictly liable for sexual harassment, regardless of whether the employer had any reason to know of about the harasser’s propensity to commit the act, and regardless of whether the employer promptly responds upon learning of the harassment. Myers v. Trendwest Resorts, Inc. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1420.

If you need to know your rights as an employee or as an employer, you may request a free consultation at the link below.

Looking to provide your business with sexual harassment training? Employers with 5 or more employees are required to provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-supervisory employees and 2 hours of training to supervisory employees once every two years. You may request a consultation to see if our Attorneys can provide your business with the required Sexual Harassment Training pursuant to California Law. Click Here for a Free Consultation.