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Are contractors protected against sex harassment in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2021 | Sexual Harassment

You have a right to a workplace that is free from harassment. This holds true regardless of whether you are a formal employee, an independent contractor or another type of worker. California’s sexual harassment laws include statutory protections for numerous types of employment, giving many workers recourse if they experience this treatment.

According to, the state’s sexual harassment laws extend protections to formal employees. It also does the same for independent contractors, volunteers and unpaid interns.

Sexual harassment types

Instances of sexual harassment in California fall into one of two categories. The first involves actions or behaviors that lead to a hostile work environment. The second involves something called “quid pro quo” harassment. This type of harassment occurs when a harasser offers or denies you some type of employment benefit in exchange for you accommodating or refusing the harasser’s sexual demands. If a manager engages in harassing behavior, you may be able to hold that manager’s employer liable for failing to address or rectify the problem.

Sexual harassment prevention

California mandates that employers of five or more workers offer sexual harassment prevention training. How much training workers must undergo depends on whether they hold managerial or non-managerial roles. As of Jan. 1, 2021, all employees in companies of five or more also receive sexual harassment prevention training detailing what behaviors constitute harassment and what recourse victims have. However, such a mandate does not exist for independent contractors, volunteers or unpaid interns.

For a behavior to fall under the “sexual harassment” umbrella, you must have suffered repercussions for failing to comply with your harasser’s demands.

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