California Harassment Law — How to Protect Yourself From Abuse
Harassment comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes the victim is not even aware that they’re harassed, but the consequences are real. If someone is harassing you, not only will you suffer emotionally, but it can also have dire consequences on your mental and physical health. It doesn’t matter if you’re experiencing harassing phone calls, cyberstalking, or sexual harassment — you should learn what you can do about it and how to protect yourself.
Knowing what to do about harassment is even more necessary if you live in California. It doesn’t happen only in Hollywood in Harvey Weinstein’s office. According to the 2019 study organized by California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and three more organizations, more than 86 percent of women and 53 percent of men in California reported that they had experienced sexual harassment, which often included assault. The national average is 81 percent for women and 43 percent for men.
What Constitutes Harassment in California?
Under California’s Code of Civil Procedure, the following actions are considered harassment in legal terms:
Someone throwing an object at you, but missing
Someone hitting you on purpose and successfully, with a fist or an object
Someone following you, watching you, attempting unsolicited contact with the intention of scaring you
Credible threat of violence
Someone making threats like “If you ever call the cops on me again, I’m going to kill you”
|Repeated actions that seriously alarm, annoy, or harass you, without a legitimate purpose, and cause you extreme emotional distress|
Someone sending a huge amount of unwanted and distressing messages with no valid reason
In California’s legislation, special attention is given to workplace harassment, which may or may not include sexual harassment.
California Workplace Harassment Laws
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) states that workplace and sexual harassment have two distinct forms:
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
This type of harassment overlaps with sexual harassment because it refers to the situation in which a supervisor or a boss requests sexual favors from an employee in exchange for certain favors and benefits. The benefits might include a promotion, a raise, or simply not being fired from your job. This Reddit user’s experience illustrates how traumatic this situation can get.
Hostile Work Environment Harassment
As the name suggests, this type of harassment exists when workplace bullying and harassing create a hostile environment for an employee. While quid pro quo harassment always comes from a supervisor and includes sexual harassment, hostile work environment harassment can come from peers or other employees. It can have characteristics of sexual harassment if employees keep throwing lewd remarks every day, but it can also be based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
If you want to accuse your colleagues of workplace harassment, you have to be careful. Isolated incidents and minor insensitive acts won’t qualify as harassment as harassing acts need to be severe and persistent. If your boss is a jerk, that might be unpleasant, but it won’t be enough for a workplace harassment lawsuit, as this Reddit user’s case shows.
Other Harassment Laws in California
Sometimes a harasser continues to abuse their victim outside the workplace and turns into a proper stalker. These days, it’s so easy to find your colleagues on social media and start sending tons of messages, bothering them at any time of the day. That is why the state of California introduced separate stalking laws in its Penal Code 646.9 PC. Other California harassment laws that can be useful are:
- California Penal Code 653m for harassing phone calls
- California Penal Code 647 for distributing private, sexually explicit photos and videos
- California Penal Code 653.2 for cyberstalking
DoNotPay Can Help You Protect Yourself From Harassment in California
Navigating the formalities and loopholes of the legal system in California can be complicated if you’re not an attorney. It will take a lot of your precious time, and you might not even be close to solving your harassment problems. Even if you manage, you should know that going to court and starting lawsuits require time and money, with no guarantee of success.
In a lot of harassment cases, hiring expensive lawyers is not necessary. Most harassers will stop their abusive behavior if you send them a cease and desist letter. It serves as an adequate warning that the next step you’re going to take is legal action—something nobody wants. This is the reason why DoNotPay is an excellent solution for stopping stalkers and fixing problems when someone is harassing you.
The whole procedure is simple, and you don’t need to have any knowledge of California’s legal system:
- Get DoNotPay in your web browser or download the iOS app to your smart device
- Find Relationship Protection
- When our virtual legal assistant starts the chat, choose Safety and Stalking
- Build your case by providing answers to chatbot’s questions
- Feel free to add any other details relevant to your case
Depending on your situation, DoNotPay’s virtual legal team will choose the best course of action for you. If you’re experiencing harassment in person, our app will provide you with a custom made cease and desist letter to keep your harasser at bay. Not only will it demand from the perpetrator to put an and to harassment, but also warn them about a possible lawsuit.
If your harasser keeps bothering you online, DoNotPay will get a hold of social media representatives and report the perpetrator, so their account undergoes further investigation. DoNotPay will also make a request on your behalf to block the harasser, making it impossible for them to contact you again.
What Else Can You Do About Harassment in California?
While you’re waiting for DoNotPay’s cease and desist letter to reach the harasser, you can do more to strengthen your case or even prepare for a lawsuit:
- Keep proof of everything—try to record every instance of harassment by writing things down, making voice and video recordings, taking screenshots of emails or social media comments, etc.
- Find witnesses—in many cases, you are probably not the only one who experienced harassment from that person. If you’re dealing with workplace or sexual harassment, talk to other people who might have seen or heard something and who can be your witnesses if things end up in court or you file for a restraining order
- Report the harassment to HR or your boss—your company most likely has internal procedures for handling harassment cases. Don’t feel ashamed to speak up as it can happen to anyone and it’s not your fault
DoNotPay Can Do So Much More!
Once you get rid of your harasser with DoNotPay’s help, don’t uninstall our app. Dealing with harassment issues is just a small part of what DoNotPay can do to make your life easier.
An average American struggles daily with numerous legal and bureaucratic issues that they don’t know how to fix. Paperwork, rules, regulations, fees—it’s too much for anybody. If you want to save your time and energy for something you enjoy, let DoNotPay help fix those problems with easy and user-friendly solutions.
- Solve problems with credit cards
- Contest traffic tickets
- Manage unwanted subscriptions or memberships
- Get revenge on annoying robocalls
- Avoid the phone queue when contacting call centers
- Get a refund for a delayed or canceled flight
- Get help with bills you are unable to pay
- Protect yourself from stalking and harassment
- Fight speeding tickets
- Get a DMV appointment with ease
- Take people and companies to small claims court
- Deal with parking tickets