Harassment

California has some of the strictest workplace harassment laws in the nation, preserving your right to receive fair treatment and equal benefits and protecting you from being exposed to hostile or discriminatory acts in the workplace.

Harassment Comes in Many Forms

Workplace Harassment

Harassment is inappropriate or offensive conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to alter an employee’s working conditions. California law provides some of the strongest workplace protections in the nation but it takes an experienced attorney to help you fight for your rights.

Harassment in the workplace is illegal where is it based one of the factors listed below:

Gender/Sex Harassment

If you have experienced harassment related to your gender, sex, or gender identity you may be a victim of gender harassment and protected under federal laws.

Gender harassment, or gender-based harassment, occurs when a person harasses another based on their gender or gender identity. The harassment does not need to be based on anything of a sexual nature. Instead, gender harassment usually involves stereotypes based on the roles and functions associated with a particular gender.

Workplace gender harassment laws are similar to Title IX laws, which prevent gender harassment and discrimination in school settings. In an employment and work setting, gender harassment can occur between co-workers, between a supervisor and a subordinate, and in various other settings.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

In United States labor law, a hostile work environment exists when one’s behavior within a workplace creates an environment that is difficult or uncomfortable for another person to work in due to discrimination. Common complaints in sexual harassment lawsuits include fondling, suggestive remarks, sexually-suggestive photos displayed in the workplace, use of sexual language, or off-color jokes. Small issues, annoyances, and isolated incidents typically are not considered to be illegal.

To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. An employer can be held liable for failing to prevent these workplace conditions, unless it can prove that it attempted to prevent the harassment and that the employee failed to take advantage of existing harassment counter-measures or tools provided by the employer.

Pregnancy Harassment

If you have experienced pregnancy harassment related to childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions, then you may be a victim of pregnancy harassment and are protected under federal laws.

It is unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

The Latin term quid pro quo translates to “something for something.”

Therefore, quid pro quo harassment occurs in the workplace when a manager or other authority figure offers or merely hints that he or she will give the employee something (a raise or a promotion) in return for that employee’s satisfaction of a sexual demand. This also occurs when a manager or other authority figure says he or she will not fire or reprimand an employee in exchange for some type of sexual favor.

A job applicant also may be the subject of this kind of harassment if the hiring decision was based on the acceptance or rejection of sexual advances.

Sexual Harassment

Workplace sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment can range from persistent offensive sexual jokes to inappropriate touching to posting offensive material on a bulletin board. Sexual harassment at work is a serious problem and can happen to both women and men.

Both state and federal laws protect employees from sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While Title VII is the base level for sexual harassment claims, states have sexual harassment laws which may be even more strict. Check the laws of your state for more information.

Workplace Bullying & Harassment

Bullying is a substantial problem in workplaces across the United States. A third of American workers have reported experiencing some form of bullying by managers or coworkers and another 25% reported having witnessed the bullying of a coworker.

Abusive work environments can reduce productivity and morale, lead to higher absenteeism and turnover rates, and increase medical and workers’ compensation claims. Under current law, victims of workplace bullying have a legal remedy only if the abuse is related to a protected category (such as race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or age).

Employers who fail to comply with the law may face penalties from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the state agency charged with enforcing California’s discrimination and harassment laws. The law does not, however, create a civil claim for abusive conduct itself.

Did You Know

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