Is it too difficult for victims of sexual harassment to make their case in court? California legislators wrestled with that question Thursday at a hearing examining the legal threshold for harassment cases under state and federal law.
Prompted by the high rate of sexual harassment cases dismissed by judges, lawmakers focused on the standard that victims must prove harassment was “severe or pervasive” in cases alleging a hostile workplace.
“It’s important because all efforts to enforce emanate from the legal standard that exists,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who chaired the panel.
Witnesses presented a mixed assessment of the threshold, which relies on a judge’s interpretation of whether a person endured behavior that was “severe or pervasive” enough to materially alter that person’s workplace experience.
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