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Governor signs Corbett bill protecting victims of sexual harassment

Sexual desire not necessary In sexual harassment claims, new law states

Senate Bill 292, legislation aimed at protecting the rights of individuals who are sexually harassed, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown Monday.

Authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East Bay), whose district includes Pleasanton, this new law clarifies that sexually harassing conduct under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) does not need to be motivated by sexual desire in order to be classified as "sexual harassment."

In 2011, the First District California Court of Appeal held that a plaintiff in a same-sex harassment case had not proven that the harasser had a sexual desire for the plaintiff, which remained one avenue necessary in order for the case to proceed. The result of that decision confused sexual harassment law and seemingly weakened the protections against sexual conduct that leads to a hostile work environment, Corbett said.

"SB 292 ensures that all Californians who are sexually harassed will receive the wide range of protections under existing law," she explained. "I thank Governor Brown for signing this important legislation that protects all individuals whenever they are sexually harassed in the workplace, regardless of motivation."

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