California has endured its fair share of litigation while treading the murky waters of temporary employment. What remains clear is that those classified as temporary employees can have much to lose, especially when it comes to working day-to-day without the sort of benefits and leverage that full-time employment provides. Naturally, temporary employees may feel intimidated when considering whether to file a sexual harassment claim. 

In a report by The National Law Review that featured the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the EEOC’s trial lawyer described how daunting it can be for a temporary employee to report sexual harassment. In the case, two victims filed a complaint of sexual harassment against another employee, and a third employee corroborated the story. The company fired all three of the employees, two of whom were temporary, as well as the supervisor who accepted the complaint and submitted the report to the administration. 

The EEOC ultimately deemed the company’s reaction to be an act of retaliation and penalized the guilty party $125,000 to settle the case. In addition, the EEOC pledged to continue vigilance in protecting the rights of the temporary worker. This is comforting news for all those workers in the marketplace who may have experienced retaliation, but feel as if they may have fewer protections due to their temporary employee status. 

According to the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment, sexual harassment is any action that is physical, verbal or visual – and sexually charged in nature – aimed at any recipient who does not wish to receive it. Additionally, retaliation is any act committed by an administration that is punitive and retaliatory in response to a sexual harassment complaint or another protected behavior.