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Sexual Harassment

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Under 9 U.S.C. 402(a), a pre-dispute arbitration agreement is not enforceable to require arbitration (or waive a class action) on a claim for sexual harassment or assault under state or federal law.  Section 402 became effective on March 3, 2022 and applies to all disputes which arise after that date.  This decision holds that a "dispute" does not arise when… Read More

In this sex harassment case, the Court of Appeal reverses a denial of plaintiff's new trial motion, finding that the trial court erred in failing to exclude the contents of complaints co-workers lodged against plaintiff.  The fact that co-workers had complained about plaintiff was relevant since the complaints provided a possible motive for plaintiff to fabricate her own sex harassment… Read More

Effective in 2019, Gov. Code 12923 "clarified" the law regarding hostile work environment sexual harassment claims.  The section states that summary judgment should rarely be granted on such claims.  In addition, it provides that even a single incident can be sufficient to support a hostile work environment claim "if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance… Read More

Civ. Code 51.9 prohibits sexual harassment in business, service or professional relationships, carrying over FEHA's ban on workplace sex harassment into this different context.  As under FEHA, sex harassment can consist of quid pro quo harassment or hostile environment harassment.  Here, plaintiff alleged enough to allow a reasonable inference that the women's soccer coach subjected team members, including plaintiff, to… Read More

This en banc opinion reverses a summary judgment the district court had granted the University of Arizona in a Title IX sex harassment claim based on a sexual assault by a male student on a football scholarship against a woman student in off-campus housing.  To obtain damages under Title IX for student-on-student harassment, a plaintiff must show (1) that the… Read More

Evid. Code 1106 prohibits admission of specific instances of plaintiff's sexual conduct to prove the plaintiff's consent or lack of injury from alleged sexual harassment, assault or battery.  A "plaintiff's sexual conduct" includes involuntary as well as voluntary sexual conduct (such as a subsequent sexual assault by a different perpetrator). While evidence of sexual conduct otherwise excludable under 1106(a) may,… Read More

This decision holds that sexually graphic, violently misogynistic music played constantly throughout defendant's warehouse could create a hostile working environment constituting sex discrimination in employment.  Music with sexually derogatory and violent content, played constantly and publicly throughout the workplace, can foster a hostile or abusive environment and thus constitute sex discrimination.  Harassment, whether aural or visual, need not be directly… Read More

The district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's sex discrimination/hostile working environment claim.  The employer failed to take immediate corrective action when a customer at the nail salon sexually propositioned plaintiff, a male pedicurist.  Instead of doing so, the employer sent plaintiff back to complete the pedicure of the offending customer.  Also, the later remarks by fellow workers about the incident… Read More