As this FEB went to publication, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 292, which clarifies that sexual harassment claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act do not require a showing of sexual desire. The legislation, effective January 1, 2014, is in direct response to — and effectively overrules — Kelley v. Conco Companies, a 2011 California appellate case where the court dismissed an employee’s same-sex sexual harassment claim because, among other issues, there was no evidence that the harassment was “motivated by sexual desire.” This could greatly expand employers’ liability for sexual harassment.
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