Is an Employer Liable for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

If you are thinking about filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you may want to know, “Is an employer liable for sexual harassment in the workplace?”

Question:

Is an employer liable for sexual harassment in the workplace?

Answer:

Last year, we had a case in which an employee was subject to sexual harassment of a co-worker here in California. The question was whether the employer was liable for the sexual harassment of the co-worker. When I say co-worker, what I mean is that the employee that was my client and the employee that was harassing her were on the same level; this other employee wasn’t a manager. During the litigation that became a relatively big issue because in California an employer is what we call strictly liable. They’re liable for the sexual harassment that’s the result of sexual harassment of a supervisor.

Is an Employer Liable for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?Under California law, if your supervisor sexually harasses you, the employer is automatically liable. The employer doesn’t have to know that the harassment was going on, the employer doesn’t have to know that the employee was unfit, and the employer doesn’t have to know that that employee had ever harassed anybody else before. Again, for sexual harassment of a supervisor, whether it’s your supervisor or any supervisor within the company, the employer is going to be liable for the sexual harassment of a supervisor.

For co-workers it’s a little bit different. For co-workers, in order for the employer to be liable, the person bringing the lawsuit, our clients have to show that the employer knew or should have known that the employee was unfit and was likely to sexually harass somebody. A lot of times, the employer knows that this person is unfit. A lot of times, you’re not the first person to complain about the employee. Surprisingly, a lot of times the manager will see the conduct going and say, “Well, that’s just Joe being Joe,” or people will know that that’s Creepy Joe because Joe has been sexually harassing people for years. They didn’t really hold him accountable, so his conduct continued.

It’s important that, if you’ve been subjected to sexual harassment, you find an attorney that knows that there’s a difference between supervisor harassment and co-worker harassment. Find an attorney that can put the resources and uncovering the fact that the employer is liable for the harassment that the employee is being subjected to. If you have any questions regarding sexual harassment at work, please feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding any issue happening at work.


Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California? You may be wondering, “Is an employer liable for sexual harassment in the workplace?” Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

We can help get your life back on track.

Like Us on Facebook