A workplace is an area that should be inclusive and uplifting, so that every employee can contribute their best effort, grow professionally and make a meaningful contribution to the company. But what happens when a workplace is hostile and sexual harassment is rampant? How can an employee fight back? Hiring hostile workplace lawyers is the first step in asserting your right to work in a fair and non-threatening environment.
If you have been bullied or harassed in a hostile workplace, the sexual harassment lawyers at Gilleon Law Firm can help protect you. We have helped hundreds of clients aggressively stand up to sexual harassment and get the justice they deserve. You do not have to feel scared or ashamed about the harassment and abuse you have suffered in the workplace. You are innocent. Let us hold the perpetrators accountable by filing a lawsuit against them. To find out more about how we can help, call the hostile workplace lawyers at Gilleon Law Firm at 800-408-2857. The initial consultation is free.
hostile workplace laws in california
UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS MEANT TO PROTECT YOU
California law is absolutely clear that sexual harassment and a hostile workplace are illegal and a violation of a person’s civil rights. Inappropriate comments, touching, photos and sexual advances of any kind are strictly prohibited. So is retaliation or the threat of retaliation when a person rejects the sexual overtures of a fellow employee, supervisor or client.
What is a hostile workplace environment?
Sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on sex, including pregnancy, and it becomes unlawful where:
- enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or
- the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
Not only is sexually offensive conduct and a hostile workplace environment illegal, but anti-discrimination laws “also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws,” the EEOC states. This holds true whether you are the person being retaliated against or are a third-party witness to employer retaliation.
Offensive behavior can include, but is not limited to, sexual insults or put-downs; offensive jokes or slurs; pictures, videos, audio materials or objects of a sexual nature; physical assaults, threats or intimidation; and interference with work performance. Additional sexually motivated or offensive behaviors can also fall under this category.
What is not a hostile workplace environment?
The EEOC also defines what falls short of meeting the legal definition of a hostile workplace environment. The Commission states that “petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.” If you are unclear about whether your workplace meets these hostile workplace environment definitions, you can talk to hostile workplace lawyers at Gilleon Law Firm by calling 800-408-2857. The initial consultation is free.
Hostile workplace harassment is illegal in California
The EEOC offers some examples of a hostile workplace environment as guidance. These examples include, but are not limited to:
- The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
- The victim does not have to be the person harassed but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
- Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.
An employer is automatically liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor if it results in a lack of promotion or advancement, reduction or loss of wages, or termination of the person being harassed. A failure to hire a qualified job candidate who rebuffs sexual advances can also be illegal. And retaliatory action against a witness to sexual harassment who files a complaint with an employer is also against the law.
If a supervisor’s intimidating behavior results in a hostile workplace environment, the EEOC states that the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that:
- it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and
- the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
An employer can also be held liable for harassment by non-employees over whom it has control — like customers on the premises, clients visiting the office and independent contractors — if the employer knew, or should have known, about the sexual harassment and chose to look the other way and do nothing. Failure by an employer to take prompt and appropriate corrective action leaves a company open to sexual harassment lawsuits.
Actions an Employer is Required to Take to Stop or Prevent Sexual Harassment
Following are some California statutes and codes that speak to an employer’s responsibility where preventing or stopping sexual harassment are concerned:
- CCR 11023: An employer must develop a corporate policy in writing to prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on CCR11023. It must require supervisors to report any complaints of sexual harassment to the appropriate party, establish a confidential complaint method for employees, and promise non-retaliation.
- Government Code 12950: An employer must distribute written materials that comply with this code which explain an employee’s rights. It must post a copy of the official poster titled “California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment.” The poster must be displayed in a prominent and accessible location, such as the employee break room or department bulletin board. This includes information regarding transgender rights.
Gilleon Law: A trusted hostile workplace attorney in California
Gilleon Law Firm has a team of trusted and experienced hostile workplace lawyers who have helped countless clients get the justice they deserve. Sexual harassment can take many forms. Males or females, young or old, white collar or blue collar and members of the LGBTQ+ community can all be employees who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. We will aggressively hold perpetrators and offending employers accountable, and we will seek financial compensation and remedial action on your behalf. To learn more about how our hostile workplace lawyers can help, call us for a free consultation at 800-408-2857.
Most conscientious and tenacious advocate in San Diego. Highly recommend him and his amazing staff.
- Art P. of San DiegoTESTIMONIALS
Dan treated me with respect and kindness. He is tough when needed and acts with integrity and class. I received the best possible outcome and was kept informed of the entire case.
- Linda F.TESTIMONIALS
Dan was very helpful during a really rough period in my life when I felt alone. He provided support in helping me fight and win my case. I would refer him to anyone who is looking for the best Sexual Harassment attorney.
- Brianna G., Restaurant SupervisorDIGITAL WORKPLACE HARASSMENT
Filing a hostile workplace lawsuit in California
The California Attorney General’s office provides direction on filing a sexual harassment claim. If you are experiencing sexual harassment, here are the things you can do:
- File a complaint with your employer based on their written sexual harassment policy.
- Keep records of the time, place, nature and persons involved in the harassment. These will be valuable if you take legal action.
- Notify the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
- Visit the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website for instructions about filing complaints.
- Complaints filed with DFEH or EEOC are automatically cross-filed with the other agency. You only need to submit one complaint.
- Once evaluated, your complaint can be accepted for investigation. If so, the employer must respond to the complaint. From there, legal action or mediation can take place.
- Hiring a sexual harassment lawyer in California can ensure that your legal rights are preserved and damages are sought.
Available remedies can include back pay, front pay (future lost earnings), hiring/reinstatement, out-of-pocket expenses, damages for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees and other remedies.