Does Sexual Harassment Include Sex?

There are two recent decisions that we believe may be very significant for Plaintiffs in wrongful termination actions, particularly gender-based claims.

In Miller v. Department of Corrections, California Supreme Court, July 18, 2005, No. 114097, the court was faced with a fact pattern wherein a prison warden promoted women who were having sex with him, but did not promote women who were not having sex with him. On those facts, the court held that the women who were NOT having sex with the warden, and were being denied promotions, had standing to sue for sexual harassment.

In Christopher v. National Education Association, 05 C.D.O.S. 799, the 9th Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of an action wherein a manager was accused of “shouting, screaming foul language, invading employees personal space, and making threatening gestures,” and held that the manager may be sued for gender discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

When we look at these cases, in conjunction with the widely acknowledged truism that “Since 2000, California employment law has diverged from federal law even more dramatically with California law being more favorable to employees…” (Rutter, Employment Law), it begins to look very difficult for a Defendant to obtain summary judgment on a gender-related claim in Federal court, and even more difficult in the California court system. It does not take much of a logical leap to apply this same rationale to other well-settled protected classes.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

Adishian Law Group is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco. As of March 2013, Adishian Law Group, P.C. has represented individual and corporate clients located across 20 California counties, 4 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries — in over 340 legal matters.

For more information about this topic or to speak with Chris Adishian:

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