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California Workplace Sexual Harassment Statistics [2024 Updated]

Emanuel Shirazi

Sexual harassment does not belong anywhere in the workplace; however, it does remain an unfortunate reality to many despite the strict laws enforced by both state and federal governments. Regardless of whether you’re a California employer or an employee, it’s important for every worker to have a proper perspective on the California workplace sexual harassment statistics in order to raise awareness about just how common harassment is in the professional environment.

California Sexual Harassment Statistics

Below are some of the recent data compiled by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the state agency responsible for enforcing California’s anti-discrimination and harassment laws.

  • In 2022, 225 EEOC sexual harassment charges were filed in California. While this number was higher than those of many states, it was much lower than Texas, which saw the largest number of charges filed the same year at 734. Florida was second with 538.
  • A 2022 study found that sexual harassment was the most common form of sexual violence in California. The study estimated that 1.2% of Californian adults had experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment in the past year, while 7.8% experienced verbal sexual harassment and 2.3% experienced physically aggressive sexual harassment.
  • According to a 2019 report, approximately 86% of women in California report experiencing some form of sexual harassment or sexual assault during their lives.
  • Approximately 53% of men in California report experiencing some form of sexual harassment during their lifetimes, with an even higher rate for individuals born in another country.
  • Members of the LGBT community are much more likely to experience sexual harassment or assault in California at some point in their careers. 98% of lesbian and gay women experienced sexual harassment, compared to 86% of heterosexual women. 35% of straight men reported sexual harassment, while 77% of gay and bisexual men reported the experience.

US Sexual Harassment Statistics

It can also be useful to gain a better understanding of sexual harassment from the national perspective. Data collected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination and harassment laws, demonstrates the following findings:

  • From 2018 through 2021, approximately 27,291 sexual harassment claims were filed with the EEOC. Of those, 1,945 (about 7.1%) also included racial discrimination.
  • During this time, women filed 78.2% of all sexual harassment charges.
  • Between 2018 and 2021, Alabama had the most sexual harassment charges filed per 10,000 people at a rate of 1.00. Mississippi came in second with a rate of 0.93.

Although some progress has been made regarding the education, general awareness, and enforcement of sexual harassment by enacting strict laws and legal protections, there remains a substantial amount of work to be done to ensure a safe working environment for all workers throughout California and across the country.

If you have witnessed this unacceptable behavior, you should consider reporting the offense to your employer immediately to put a stop to it. If you have experienced sexual harassment first-hand, it’s paramount that you consult with a trusted employment lawyer who has direct experience handling sexual harassment claims. They can help you bring the individuals who are responsible to justice and attempt to prevent them from continuing their behaviors.

Understanding the Impact

Ultimately, it’s the employers who play the most crucial role in addressing sexual harassment by fostering cultures of respect, implementing comprehensive anti-harassment policies, providing training to employees and managers, and establishing clear reporting and response mechanisms. By prioritizing prevention and response efforts, employers can create workplaces where harassment is not tolerated, and all employees feel empowered to speak out against misconduct.


Q: How Many Cases of Workplace Harassment Are Filed Each Year in California?

A: Around 300 cases of workplace harassment are filed each year in California. Between 2019 and 2022, an average of 288.5 cases of sexual harassment were filed. In 2022, 225 sexual harassment charges were filed in the state. This number declined from 272 the previous year, 313 in 2020, and 344 in 2019. These numbers are much lower than those of Texas, which often has the highest numbers of sexual harassment charges. In 2019, 734 charges were filed in Texas.

Q: What Are the Causes of Workplace Harassment?

A: Power and gender inequality are the two most prominent causes of workplace harassment in the US. Abuse of power and authority over others in the workplace, as well as gender discrimination, are generally the two most common causes of workplace harassment. Mental health issues and lack of awareness can also be causes of harassment in the workplace.

Q: How Can You Stop Workplace Harassment?

A: As difficult as it can be to deal with harassment in the workplace, there are ways to prevent it. Some methods include:

  • Responding to harassment concerns promptly and thoroughly investigating any complaints
  • Clearly informing employees that harassment is prohibited
  • Telling employees whom they should contact if they have any questions or concerns
  • Ensuring that management and those in positions of power fully understand their responsibility to stop, address, and prevent harassment

Q: What Happens If You Get Fired for Harassment?

A: In addition to being fired and losing your employment status, there are many other serious repercussions that can occur if you get fired for harassment in the workplace. There can oftentimes be long-term damage done to both your professional and personal reputation. This can cause challenges for your prospects of future employment opportunities, as well as create judgment regarding your character. There can also be substantial legal consequences if you have been found guilty of harassment.

Consult With a Trusted Law Firm for Your Harassment Case

At Shirazi Law Firm, PC, our experienced attorney and his team take pride in approaching each unique case with diligence and compassion to ensure that your civil rights are protected at every stage of your case. We can aggressively pursue justice so that the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions.

Our founding lawyer is considered to be one of the most experienced employment lawyers in California and has even been named a Super Lawyer in Employment Law by Los Angeles Magazine the last 15 years, which honors only the top 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Southern California. He also actively serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section.

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

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