Sexual harassment cases in the workplace in California take on many shapes and forms, from fairly straightforward office incidents to cases that involve contractors and customers. Cases may also have a criminal component and a civil jurisdiction. Damages awarded to plaintiffs in successful cases consider emotional distress, medical costs and other factors.
A report in the Star Tribune covered a sexual assault case in California that has moved from a criminal case in 2017 to a civil case in 2019. A woman who had a flat tire accepted the help of a uniformed delivery driver, who then proceeded to grab her car keys, carry her away and assault her. The man received two years in prison. The civil case hinged on whether or not the delivery company should have hired a man to be in a trusted position who had a record of assault. The woman claimed she flagged down the delivery vehicle because it belonged to a company she was familiar with and trusted.
More and more companies are investing in sexual harassment training for workers and management personnel. In California since 2005, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, employers are required to conduct sexual awareness training for high-level employees every two years. Despite these required training sessions, complaints for sexual harassment remain high. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 356 complaints in 2017, down from 441 complaints in 2014. Large awards to plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases jeopardize the existence of companies. Cases of sexual harassment in the workplace occur in all fields, but according to experts the food, beverage and hospitality industry has the most cases.