Federal Law. Under federal law, "harassment" is defined to mean "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose." (18 U.S.C.A. §1514(c)(1).) See HUD definition.
California Law. California defines "harassment" as unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner. (Code Civ. Proc §527.6(b)(3).)
"Course of Conduct" is defined as a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose, including following or stalking an individual, making harassing telephone calls to an individual, or sending harassing correspondence to an individual by any means, including, but not limited to, the use of public or private mails, interoffice mail, facsimile, or computer email. (Code Civ. Proc §527.6(b)(1).)
"Credible threat of violence" is a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose. (Code Civ. Proc §527.6(b)(2).)
Restraining Order. Persons subjected to harassment and threats of violence can seek a restraining order.
Investigating Harassment. Per regulations issued by HUD in 2016, associations are now required to investigate complaints of harassment made by members.
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