Herberg v. California Institute of the Arts

In Herberg v. California Institute of the Arts (2002) 101 Cal. App. 4th 142, an employee (joined by two family members who were also employees) sued an art institute for hostile work environment sexual harassment under section 12940 after she was depicted in a vulgar and sexually oriented drawing prepared by two students at the institute. Herberg affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the institute, finding the undisputed facts established the alleged harassment was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the plaintiffs' employment and create a hostile work environment. ( Herberg, supra, at pp. 144-145.) It should be noted that in Herberg, the perpetrators of the alleged harassment were students, not supervisors or coemployees. However, there was no contention therein that the employer was absolved of any duty merely because the alleged harassers were nonemployees.