Sexual harassment in contractual relationships other than employment, such as educational (for example, student-teacher) and professional relationships, is prohibited by California and federal law. To prove a claim of sexual harassment in a professional relationship, the plaintiff must show:
- That the plaintiff had a business, service, or professional relationship with the defendant;
- That the defendant made sexual advances, solicitations, sexual requests, demands for sexual compliance, or similar conduct to the plaintiff or that the defendant engaged in verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual or hostile nature based on gender;
- That the defendant's conduct was unwelcome and also pervasive or severe;
- That the plaintiff was unable to easily end the relationship with the defendant; and
- That the plaintiff has suffered or will suffer economic loss or disadvantage, personal injury, or the violation of a statutory or constitutional right as a result of the defendant's conduct.
This prohibition against sexual harassment covers relationships with professionals, such as physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, attorneys, real estate agents, accountants, bankers, building contractors, executors, trustees, landlords, teachers and similar professionals.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act also prohibits sexual harassment of unpaid interns, training programs leading to employment, and volunteers.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin