Sexual Harassment Attorneys San Francisco

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Sexual Harassment Attorneys San Francisco

We are all protected from being discriminated against because of certain characteristics when seeking employment or housing, or when attending certain educational programs. These protections include a prohibition against sexual harassment, so if you are being harassed at work or at an educational institution, you should contact sexual harassment attorneys in San Francisco who can help you attempt to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their actions.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, and as such, is prohibited under both state and federal law. A wide range of conduct qualifies as sexual harassment, including everything from making unwelcome sexual advances to requesting sexual favors. In fact, conduct does not even have to be sexual in nature to qualify as harassment. For instance, making offensive remarks about a person’s sex constitutes sexual harassment under federal law.

California takes a similar view of sexual harassment, defining it as any visual, physical, or verbal conduct that is of a sexual nature and creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. The offensive conduct in question need not be motivated by sexual desire to qualify as harassment, but could be based on:

  • Actual or perceived sex or gender identity;
  • Actual or perceived sexual orientation; or
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

This broad definition of sexual harassment includes a number of different kinds of offensive behavior, such as:

  • Visual conduct, including leering, making sexual gestures, and displaying sexually suggestive images or objects;
  • Verbal conduct, such as making derogatory comments or jokes, using sexually degrading words, or making graphic verbal commentaries;
  • Physical conduct, including touching, impeding or blocking movement, and assault; and
  • Retaliating against an employee after receiving a negative response to sexual advances.

If you have experienced this type of treatment in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team to learn more about your legal options.

Who is Protected From Sexual Harassment?

The federal law prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including both state and local governments. While this could mean that many employees who work for smaller companies are left without protection, California law fills in these gaps by prohibiting sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Unlike Title VII, FEHA’s protections against sexual harassment apply to all businesses in the state, regardless of the number of employees, and protect not only applicants and employees but also unpaid interns and volunteers, as well as contractors.

Filing a Complaint

Employees or applicants who have been the victims of sexual harassment have a few different options when it comes to filing a claim, including submitting a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which may investigate and may pursue claims on behalf of claimants. Alternatively or additionally, a person may file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the agency responsible for enforcing federal sexual harassment laws. In California, complaints filed with one agency will automatically be cross-filed with the other, meaning that claimants are not required to file more than once. Depending on the agency’s response, a claimant can recover damages from the at-fault party or file a claim in a federal or state court.

Contact Our San Francisco Office Today

To speak with experienced sexual harassment attorneys in San Francisco about your own employment rights, please contact Olivier & Schreiber LLP by phone or online message.


(415) 484-0980


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