Workplace Harassment Lawyer
Were You Harassed At Work?
Co-workers, supervisors, owners or third parties such as clients or vendors can commit workplace harassment. It frequently occurs as verbal harassment and may include offensive jokes, comments, emails, websites or pictures.
While harassment typically starts with verbal or nonphysical acts, it can increase to violent levels. Employees may be threatened physically or with the loss of their jobs. In sexual harassment cases, victims may be subject to unwanted sexual advances, touching or quid pro quo tactics such as demanding sex in exchange for advancement or keeping their jobs. Sexual harassment can occur regarding gender identity and expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation and whether a person is biologically a man or a woman.
How Bad Does It Have To Be To Bring A Claim?
When harassment is so pervasive that it affects a person’s ability to perform his or her job, it may be considered a hostile work environment. A valid hostile work environment claim must be based on discrimination of a protected class.
Sexual harassment is very common, but there is also considerable harassment in the workplace concerning race, ethnicity and religion. For example, following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, discrimination and harassment have increased dramatically against people of Middle Eastern descent and/or who are Muslim.
Harassment based on age is also far too common.
No one should be subject to harassment or a hostile work environment. We represent people who are victims of all types of employment harassment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes workplace harassment in California?
Many issues may be considered workplace harassment in California. Conduct is considered harassment when it is negative, unwanted, or inappropriate and related to someone’s protected characteristics like religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or pregnancy. Examples of workplace harassment include behavior like:
- Inappropriate jokes, innuendo, or derogatory comments
- Physical harassment, such as unwanted touching, hitting, hair-pulling, grabbing clothes, or other physical contact
- Threats, implied or explicit
- Visual harassment like posters, signs, or graffiti that includes slurs, racial caricatures, or other derogatory or negative content
- Unwanted requests for sexual favors
- Favoritism related to protected characteristics
How do I file a workplace harassment claim in California?
After you consult with an experienced workplace harassment lawyer, the next step is to file a claim with the Office Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Depending on the circumstances, you may want the DFEH to investigate, or you may want to secure an immediate right to sue to file a lawsuit in court.
How do you prove harassment?
Harassment can be difficult to prove without evidence. The most effective way to prove that you are being harassed at work is to document each event. Save emails and other communications with your supervisor or HR department regarding your complaints to show they didn’t respond or acknowledge your problems.
You should also collect documents and communications that include derogatory language, demonstrate characteristic-based favoritism, or otherwise prove your claim. Take pictures of visual harassment if possible. If you can, discuss events with your coworkers or other witnesses and ask them to provide testimony on your behalf. This evidence will demonstrate that you have been the victim of unwanted harassment that was not addressed by your employer.