Can a Sexual Harassment Claim Affect Your Medical License?


A single sexual harassment claim, even if untrue, can have a significant impact on your medical license. The simple act of someone making a claim against you, whatever the motivation, starts the process of an investigation that can affect your license, reputation, and future as a medical professional. Whether you are facing a sexual harassment claim pursuant to an alleged federal, state, or ethical violation, you must have an experienced California professional license defense attorney on your side.

Sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals can often have multiple components to them, including criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits, and professional license disciplinary proceedings. It is important that you have a comprehensive defense for you and your professional license with an attorney who knows how to help you successfully manage your way through a potentially life-altering period of time.


The various forms of sexual harassment are defined and explained by both federal and state statutes. Sexual harassment is defined by federal law pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, and is divided into two categories;

1) quid pro quo harassment, and

2) hostile work environment harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment involves allegations of a company executive or other high-ranking company official requesting sexual favors from a subordinate to keep their job or receive some additional work-related benefit. Hostile work environment harassment involves allegations of one or more co-workers engaging in sexually offensive or abusive conduct, which includes making inappropriate comments, jokes, or having any physical contact that creates an offensive atmosphere in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment is also defined under California law, and misconduct is prohibited by the California Business & Professions Code (Section 726). This California statute defines sexual harassment as visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome in any way. In some instances, consent cannot even be legally given. A doctor and patient, for example, cannot legally have a sexual relationship, even if it is consensual.


There are numerous legal defenses available to combat claims of sexual harassment or medical sexual misconduct. The most common defenses to these types of allegations include:

  • consent of the alleged victim,
  • extortion or attempted extortion by the alleged victim, and/or
  • medical treatment that was clinically appropriate.

If you or a loved one is facing a potential claim that could affect your professional license, then it is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will look to these and other potential defenses to protect you and your medical license.


At the SJ Harris Law Office, you will get a free consultation for any legal issue. Professionals that are facing discipline against their licenses deserve representation that gives them privacy and proper discretion. We keep the information confidential, even if you don’t hire us to represent you. Your reputation, license, and future are at the forefront of our focus at SJ Harris Law and we look forward to hearing from you. Call us at (310) 361-8585 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.