Coyle Browne Law

Sexual harassment

Why our lawyers fight against sexual harassment and who we protect

Sexual harassment remains prevalent in all sorts of settings — including at work, in the landlord and tenant relationship, and even in public establishments like car dealerships and restaurants.

Browne Employment Lawyers protects individuals from sexual harassment in all of these settings.

California sexual harassment laws

There are two types of sexual harassment, “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when someone conditions a person’s job or promotion opportunity on giving in to sexual advances. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when unwanted sexual comments, advances, or contact creates an offensive work environment. In order to prove a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim, the employee needs to prove that the conduct was either severe or pervasive.

What is the difference between severe sexual harassment and pervasive sexual harassment

Under California law, an employee must show that the harassing conduct was “severe enough or sufficiently pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create a work environment that qualifies as hostile or abusive to employees because of their sex.”  [Hughes v. Pair (2009) 46 C4th 1035, 1043, 95 CR3d 636, 644-645 (internal quotes omitted) (not an employment case); Haberman v. Cengage Learning, Inc. (2009) 180 CA4th 365, 382, 103 CR3d 19, 31 (rejecting claim)]

The employee does not need to prove severe AND pervasive. They only need to demonstrate one or the other. So, even if the conduct isn’t “severe”, if it happens over and over again, the employee will still have a claim.

To meet the “pervasive” sexual harassment standard, the sexual harassment incidents cannot be isolated incidents. Instead, they need to be ongoing. A single sexual comment won’t meet the pervasive standard. A single sexual assault will meet the “severe” sexual harassment standard. When an employee’s supervisor made repeated sexual remarks about her over a two-year period, calling her “gorgeous” and “beautiful” rather than by her name, telling her about his sexual fantasies and his desire to have sex with her, commenting on her parts of her body, and asking over a loudspeaker whether she needed help changing her clothes was found to be sexual harassment. [Draper v. Coeur Rochester, Inc. (9th Cir. 1998) 147 F3d 1104, 1105-1107]

How Browne Employment Lawyers’s sexual harassment lawyers can help

If you have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, Browne Employment Lawyers is available for a free consultation. To begin this process, please contact us by calling 800-421-2594 or emailing

While not required for an initial consultation, it is helpful to prepare in advance:

The specific facts and any records about the incident(s), including the name and contact information of the person or entity you believe harmed you (if known);

The names and contact information of any witnesses (if known); and

Copies of any documents or other evidence related to your situation.

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Free consultation by a lawyer. If we can take your case, there are no up front costs or fees.

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