Nelson Law Group
Employment Law Attorneys
SF Bay Area : 415-689-6590
Toll Free : 866-290-0424

California law prohibits harassment of employees of contractor companies

California courts continue to extend sex harassment protections to all categories of workers, most recently employees of contractors working at employer job sites. In Hirst v. City of Oceanside, an employee of a phlebotomy company working for the Oceanside Police Department was harassed by the police officer who supervised her work. The phlebotomy company, American Forensic Nurses ("AFN"), had a written contract to provide blood collection services to the Oceanside Police. The contract specifically said that AFN and Oceanside were in a contractor relationship, not employment. California law says that only employees and those providing services to an employer "pursuant to a contract" can sue for harassment. Oceanside argued that only AFN could sue it for harassment, since it did not have individual contracts with AFN's employees. But the court disagreed, holding that California law should be interpreted broadly to prohibit workplace harassment, no matter who the victims are. At trial, the plaintiff won a $1.5 million verdict against both Oceanside and the police officer who harassed her, but the judge ordered a new trial on grounds that the damages were too high. The main lessons from the case? That pretty much anyone who is harassed in a California workplace can sue for harassment, and that there is such a thing as doing too well with a harassment verdict. Without supporting evidence, the higher a money judgment in an employment case, the more likely the case will be re-tried, and/or the damages will be reduced. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information


Representing both employers and employees makes me a better lawyer, because I know how the other side thinks.

Read More


I can provide the same level of service as a large law firm, but more efficiently and at a lower cost.

Read More

How Can We Help ?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Keep In Touch

Nelson Law Group
345 West Portal Avenue
Suite 110
San Francisco, California 94127

Toll Free: 866-290-0424
Phone: 415-689-6590
Fax: 415-592-8671
Map & Directions
San Francisco Law Office Map