Step-by-Step Guide to Reporting Sexual Harassment under FEHA in California
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in California, you have the right to
report it and seek legal remedies. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and provides a process for employees to report
harassment and seek relief. In this blog post, we’ll outline the step-by-step process for
reporting sexual harassment under FEHA in California.
Step 1: Understand what constitutes sexual harassment.
The first step in reporting sexual harassment is to understand what constitutes sexual
harassment under FEHA. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted or unwelcome sexual
conduct that is either severe or pervasive and that creates a hostile or offensive work
environment, or that is a condition of employment. Examples of sexual harassment may include
unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, or suggestive comments or jokes.
Step 2: Know your rights and responsibilities.
It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to reporting sexual
harassment in the workplace. Under FEHA, you have the right to be free from sexual
harassment, and your employer has a responsibility to prevent and address harassment in the
workplace. You also have a responsibility to report sexual harassment if it occurs.
Step 3: Document the harassment.
If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to document the
harassment as thoroughly as possible. This includes keeping a record of the dates and times of
the harassment, the specific words or actions that were harassing, and the names of any
witnesses. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of any documents or other evidence related to
the harassment, such as emails or text messages.
Step 4: Report the harassment to your employer.
If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, the next step is to report it to your
employer. You can do this either orally or in writing, but it’s usually best to put your report in
writing. In your report, be sure to provide as much detail as possible about the harassment,
including the dates and times it occurred, the specific words or actions that were harassing, and
the names of any witnesses.
Step 5: Consider your employer’s response.
After you have reported the sexual harassment to your employer, they should take prompt and
appropriate action to investigate and address the harassment. Your employer should provide
you with a written response to your report and inform you of the steps they will take to resolve
Step 6: Seek legal advice.
If you are dissatisfied with your employer’s response to your report of sexual harassment or you
have any other questions or concerns about the process, it’s important to seek legal advice. An
experienced employment attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on your
rights and options under FEHA. They can also help you gather any additional evidence and
represent you in legal proceedings, if necessary.
Step 7: Consider your options for pursuing a claim.
If you believe your employer has not adequately addressed your report of sexual harassment or
you have experienced retaliation as a result of making the report, you may have several options
for pursuing a claim. You may be able to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair
Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or
you may be able to file a lawsuit in court. Your attorney can advise you on the best course of
action based on the specific circumstances of your case.
By following the steps outlined in this blog post, including documenting the harassment,
reporting it to your employer, and seeking legal advice if necessary, you can protect your rights
and ensure that you receive the relief you are entitled to. It’s important to remember that you
have the right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace and that your employer has
a responsibility to prevent and address harassment in the workplace. If you experience sexual
harassment, don’t hesitate to report it and seek legal help if needed.