Existing law allows a client to sue an agent for sexual harassment. This new law lowers the bar for bringing such a claim. It provides that even if a business, service, or professional “relationship” does not presently exist (as is required in existing law), a real estate agent, among other persons (an “investor” is now included) may be liable for sexual harassment when he or she holds him or herself out as being able to help the plaintiff establish a business, service, or professional relationship with the defendant or a third party.   The new law also eliminates the requirement that the plaintiff prove there is an inability by the plaintiff to easily terminate the relationship.

Senate Bill 224 is codified as Civil Code § 51.9, and Government Code §§ 12930 and 12948. Effective January 1, 2019.