Are Sexual Harassment Claims Difficult to Prove?

There have been many stories in the news lately about sexual harassment in California, specifically in the tech community. Many of the stories have focused on how difficult allegations may be to prove.

To understand what sexual harassment is, you must be familiar with the different types:

  • Quid pro quo occurs when an employer conditions employment based on unwelcome sexual advances, sexual favors or other physical or verbal sexual contact, or on intimate relations with another employee.
  • A hostile work environment can include an employer allowing unwanted sexual advances, physical contact, sexual remarks, sexual photographs or other types of intimidating, hostile or offensive actions to occur within the confines of a work environment.

Recently, a female employee filed a lawsuit against a female executive at Yahoo over allegations of sexual harassment and wrongful termination. According to CNN, Nan Shi, a software engineer, accuses her direct supervisor, Maria Zhang, a senior engineering director for Yahoo, of allegedly pressuring her on multiple instances into having oral and cyber-sex in exchange for a “bright future” at the company.

The lawsuit caught national headlines, as Shi is alleging quid pro quo. As CNN reported, cases involving this form of sexual harassment often have more “smoking gun” potential due to evidence being available. In cases involving a hostile work environment, there are sometimes unclear conditions fueling sexually charged offices.

How Do I Know If I Am Being Sexually Harassed at Work?

If you experience sexual harassment at work, you need to report it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and contact our employment attorney. We can determine if you have an actionable case.

Remember, sexual harassment can be a form of discrimination, which is illegal in many respects. If you experience harassment at work, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact our attorneys today and make sure your employer is held liable for your predicament.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys

Tip of the Week: In California, an employer should make an immediate inquiry into any sexual harassment claim.