top of page
  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

Is There a Sexual Harassment Statute of Limitations? California Law

California law is designed to protect the rights of both the sexual harassment victims and the alleged offenders until the case is resolved.

One way this is done is by imposing a statute of limitations on all workplace sexual harassment claims. This means that victims have a limited time in which to file a civil lawsuit against the offender. Failing to do so within the specified time limits may result in the sexual harassment lawsuit being dismissed from court.

Dealing with a sexual harassment case is often complicated by California's statute of limitations laws. Victims seeking justice after being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace can call Goss Law today to schedule a free consultation. They can provide more insight ton the felony statute of limitations California as well.

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment in California?

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment in California?

According to the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), sexual harassment is defined as any type of discrimination that is based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or gender/sex (including childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions.

It includes physical or verbal sexual conduct, requests for sexual favors, or unwanted sexual advances that can be directed toward either gender. In some cases, sexual harassment is not overt or obvious and does not necessitate any kind of sexual desire.

Such a broad definition can make dealing with a workplace sexual harassment claim very complicated.

This is why victims need to approach a Sacramento sex crime attorney to help them file a claim with the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The case may also be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the federal level.

Common Examples of Sexual Harassment

Many types of behavior may be regarded as a sexual harassment incident under California law. The following are some common examples:

  • Derogatory slurs, jokes, epithets, or comments

  • Sexually suggestive or obscene messages, sexually degrading words, and graphic comments

  • Unwanted sexual offers

  • Rude gestures and leering

  • Offering benefits in exchange for sexual favors

  • Threats against someone's conditions of employment or benefits if they refuse a sexual request

  • Adverse impacts after reporting sexual harassment, such as loss of benefits or employment

  • Discussion of sexual acts

  • Displaying or distributing sexually suggestive objects, cartoons, pictures, or posters

  • Unwanted physical contact

  • Blocking or impeding someone's movements

Looking at these various forms of sexual harassment, it is clear that they are not usually as serious as sexual assault, which can involve the use of physical force to coerce an unwilling individual to engage in sexual acts or contact.

However, victims are still encouraged to file a legal claim against the perpetrators of any sexual harassment offenses in the workplace.

What Is a Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment Claims?

To experience sexual harassment at work can be a very difficult thing for anyone to deal with, especially when the victim depends on their employment for their livelihood. As such, many victims make the wrong choice of suffering in silence rather than speaking up and filing a sexual harassment claim against the offender.

When filing a claim after a sexual harassment incident, it is important to remember that there is a statute of limitations regarding the amount of time the victim has to launch their lawsuit.

Currently, in California, victims have three years from the date of the last sexual harassment incident to file a claim against the perpetrator. This is a statute of limitations that was implemented on January 1, 2020. Three years is the time limit set if the victim intends to file a sexual harassment claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Federal Sexual Harassment Complaint

If the victim chooses to file a workplace sexual harassment claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rather than the DFEH, they will have a much shorter statute of limitations deadline of just 180 days.

The only exception is a situation whereby sexual harassment cases are filed with both the DFEH and EEOC simultaneously. Here, the EEOC extends the statute of limitations to 300 days.

Why Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim?

The time limit on filing claims of workplace harassment of a sexual nature is imposed to protect the rights of both the victim and the defendant.

As time passes, important evidence may become lost or witnesses may begin to forget important details. The sooner the report is made, the better. Victims should report any recent sexual harassment incident to the relevant authority to ensure they get the justice they deserve.

Extension of California's Statute of Limitations on Sexual Harassment Claims in 2020

The three-year statute of limitations on workplace sexual harassment claims was imposed after the passing of Assembly Bill No. 9, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. Before this Bill was passed, the statute of limitations was one year from the date of the last act.

This means unless the victim is reporting a recent sexual harassment incident, if the harassment occurred before January 2020, it means they may have already missed their deadline.

However, victims should still consult with their lawyers before assuming that they are too late to file claims against perpetrators of sexual harassment. In some cases, an exception to the rule may exist to allow them to toll the statute of limitations and file a complaint with the DFEH or EEOC. Goss Law can also explain the embezzlement statute of limitations California.

Steps Victims of Sexual Harassment Need to Take

When it comes to sexual harassment statute of limitations, California gives victims a limited time to file a lawsuit. As such, it is important to take the right steps early on to ensure that their claim is heard. Victims can take the following steps:

  • Collect valid evidence of the sexual harassment incidents

  • Document all injuries or emotional distress caused by the harasser

  • Identify actions or lack thereof by the employer after the sexual harassment was reported

  • Approach a good lawyer and take legal action

A California Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help

A California Sexual Harassment Lawyer Can Help

Being sexually harassed can have a devastating effect on the victim's life. A good lawyer can help them file a formal complaint, fight for their legal rights, and get the justice that they deserve. Victims who need help filing a sexual harassment lawsuit can call Goss Law today and speak to an experienced and compassionate attorneys.


bottom of page