Hostile Work Environment
Hostile Work Environment
Many employees work at businesses that subject them to horrific harassment at work, which can make life unbearable. To make matters worse, some employees can’t leave their job for various reasons, and feel that they have to endure the harassment. However, workplace harassment can be a form of discrimination that can violate both state and federal law.
In California, the principal statute governing employment discrimination and harassment is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) (Govt C §§12900–12996). This statute protects the right of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination (and effectively, harassment) based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age (at least 40), military and veteran status, or pregnancy.
In order for conduct to be considered harassment, several elements are necessary. First, the victim must be a member of a protected class. The victim must have been subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct as a result of being in the protected class and the harassment must be based on membership in the protected class. Finally, the harassing behavior must have either been severe enough to make an offensive work environment or persuasive enough to affect a condition of employment.
It is important to know that an employer simply being rude, mean, or employing a supervisor that is a “jerk” does not necessarily equate to a hostile work environment, as there can be conduct that does not constitute a hostile workplace environment. Teasing or offhand comments aren’t illegal, nor are incidents that occur very rarely. Some examples of conduct that could create a “hostile work environment” include making sexual remarks about a worker’s looks or body, telling sexual jokes, using racially offensive words, making rude comments about a worker’s gender, saying derogatory things about a worker’s disabilities, or mocking a person’s religion. By law, anyone in an office can behave in a way to make the workplace a hostile work environment, including a supervisor, another employee, or even a non-employee, such as a contractor or customer.
If you are harassed at work and you believe it is making your workplace a “hostile work environment”, you should immediately report the behavior to your supervisor or another member of management, ideally in writing. Hopefully, the conduct will stop and you will be able to continue as an employee with no further incidents. However, in some cases further legal action is necessary. For example, if the conduct doesn’t stop, or you were punished because of your membership in a protected class, or you are retaliated against because you complained, your legal rights may have been violated.
If you believe you have been subjected to a “hostile work environment,” give us a call at 855-IM-FIRED for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have substantial experience with these types of cases representing individuals who have been harassed at work and subjected to a hostile work environment.
There are no up-front costs and you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless we get a recovery in the case.
Contact our Los Angeles California employment attorneys and lawyers now for all of your employee rights’ needs!
- Age Discrimination
- Sex/Gender Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Military Status Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Battery
- Hostile Work Environment
- Whistleblower Violations
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination (LGBTQIA+)
- Race/National Origin Discrimination
- Religious Discrimination
- Family Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act Violations
- Failure to Pay Minimum Wages
- Unsafe Workplace
- Unpaid Wages
- Unpaid Overtime
- Meal Period And Rest Break Violations
- Misclassification as an Independent Contractor
- Wrongful Termination