You have the right to report to your place of work every morning without the fear of being sexually harassed. In fact, both state and federal laws require employers to protect their employees from all forms of harassment—including sexual harassment.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, you need to take appropriate steps to fight for your rights. And you need to act immediately. However, to effectively pursue damages resulting from sexual harassment at work, you need to file your claim within specific timelines. If you fail to file your claim on time, you might forfeit your right to do so in the future.
But first, what is sexual harassment at work?
Broadly, sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual behavior in the workplace. Sexual harassment can be verbal, visual or physical conduct that the plaintiff finds offensive, intimidating and hostile. Sexual harassment at work can take two forms: quid pro quo and/or a hostile work environment.
Filing sexual harassment claim with DFEH
Under Assembly Bill No.9, the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is three years. Meaning, you have three years from the date of the last harassment incident to report your claim.
Filing sexual harassment claim with EEOC
You can also file your sexual harassment claim at the federal level with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In this case, the statute of limitations will be shorter. The federal statute for sexual harassment claims is usually 180 days. Thus, you have six months from the date of the last incident of sexual harassment to file your claim.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work in California, it is important that you explore your legal options so you can fight for your rights.