Harassed at Work? Find Justice with a Los Angeles Harassment Lawyer
As an employee in Los Angeles, you are entitled to a workplace that is free from harassment. Not only is harassment in the workplace against the law, but most employers in California have an affirmative obligation to provide their employees with a safe space to work. If you have experienced harassment in the workplace, you may be entitled to financial or other remedies, and you should speak with a Los Angeles harassment lawyer as soon as possible.
At Attorneys For Employees, our lawyers have decades of experience helping employees assert their rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and other state and federal laws. If you have questions, we can explain everything you need to know, and if you are a victim, we can pursue a harassment claim against your employer for you.
Know Your Rights: Stop Harassment in the Los Angeles Workplace
There are state and federal laws to ensure employees of protected classes can work in an environment free of abuse, intimidation, and hostility. When these laws are violated and an employee is subjected to harassment, there are legal remedies available. The Los Angeles Harassment Lawyers at Attorneys for Employees (AFE) are well-versed in these legal remedies and can provide a case review so you understand your options.
Protected Classes & What Qualifies as Harassment in LA
If anyone from a protected class or group is discriminated against or has experienced abuse, intimidation, or hostility due to their protected class, it may be considered harassment. This includes anyone who has experienced harassment based on one or more of the following criteria:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
What Qualifies as Harassment in the Workplace?
An employee of a protected class may have a claim of harassment in the following situations:
- When employment is a condition of being subjected to offensive conduct or behavior; or
- A reasonable person would consider the conduct or behavior to be abusive, hostile, or intimidating.
Minor irritating comments or inconveniences are not typically enough to constitute a harassment claim, as the behavior or conduct must create a hostile work environment. However, it does not have to be directed toward you for you to suffer harassment.
Examples of Harassment at Work
Many types of offensive behavior can qualify as harassment, including:
- A supervisor who mocks an employee for their race
- The display of a picture or poster that ridicules an employee’s religion
- Verbal or physical threats made by a coworker (for example, repeatedly using racial slurs or making sexist jokes directed at a coworker)
- Offensive or vulgar jokes told by an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer
- Constantly ridiculing a coworker, spreading false rumors, or intentionally excluding someone from work-related activities.
- Sending threatening or demeaning messages, posting defamatory statements or rumors about a coworker, or sharing explicit content without consent
- Demotion, reduction in work hours, or unfavorable work assignments as a reprisal for filing a complaint against a coworker
About Sexual Harassment in Los Angeles
When most people think of harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment is the first thing that comes to mind. It is by far the most sensationalized type of harassment, and it can take many forms, from unwanted sexual advances to offers of promotion in exchange for sexual favors. The victim and the harasser do not have to be opposite sexes, and the harasser does not have to be the victim’s supervisor.
It is important to dispel another common misconception that sexual harassment laws solely address harassment occurring between employers and employees. According to the law, employers are obligated to safeguard their employees from harassment originating from any party. Consequently, you may have a valid claim even if the individual responsible for the harassment is a customer or a client.
Hostile Work Environment: When Unfriendly Turns Unlawful
The concept of a “hostile work environment” may appear to cover various unfriendly or adversarial situations within a workplace. However, its legal definition is much more specific and limited in scope, despite the absence of a precise definition in state or federal laws.
It is important to recognize that a hostile work environment stems from harassment. Additionally, this harassment must be based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, or age. The harassment must be of such a severe or pervasive nature that it creates an environment that is threatening or abusive for an individual employee or a group of employees.
In essence, a hostile work environment extends beyond mere unfriendliness or intimidation. Determining the presence of a hostile work environment depends primarily on the particular facts and circumstances of each case, but generally, to establish a harassment claim rooted in a hostile work environment, you must establish the presence of four key elements:
- Unwelcome conduct: You must demonstrate that the behavior in question was unwelcome on your part.
- Based on a protected characteristic: The conduct must be motivated by or linked to a protected characteristic such as race, gender, religion, or age.
- Severe or pervasive conduct: The conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an abusive or hostile work environment.
- Imputable to the employer: It must be established that the employer is responsible for the conduct or failure to take appropriate measures to address it.
Relying on the experience of a Los Angeles harassment lawyer is crucial. Our team will evaluate your case and advise you on the necessary evidence needed to substantiate each element. If you believe you are experiencing the effects of a hostile work environment, seeking the guidance of an employment harassment lawyer will enable you to identify the relevant facts in your situation and assist you in building your claim.
Distinguishing Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying: Understanding the Differences in Definition
Differentiating between discrimination, harassment, and bullying can be challenging due to the interchangeable use of these terms and the overlap that exists among them, but they do differ, and the difference is more than just semantics.
To better comprehend these behaviors, it is essential to grasp their key features, but while we want you to have a basic understanding, it is our job as your Los Angeles harassment lawyer to proceed with the legal strategy that makes the most sense. We are always available for a phone call to discuss your unique employment matter, and during that consultation, we can advise what type of claim you may have.
- Discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently based on characteristics such as race, gender, religion, or other factors that negatively impact their advancement, compensation, or access to opportunities. Discrimination is prohibited by both federal and California state laws.
- Harassment typically involves inappropriate behavior directed at an employee due to their gender, race, age, or similar characteristics. Unlike discriminatory behavior, harassment does not necessarily have to result in adverse effects on pay, promotion, or opportunities. Instead, the victim must demonstrate that the harassment created a hostile work environment. Harassment is considered illegal when it targets individuals belonging to a protected class.
- Bullying encompasses conduct that can be perceived as threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, and it is not necessarily based on the victim’s membership in a protected class. While bullying itself is not explicitly illegal under federal or California law, anti-discrimination or anti-harassment laws may apply if the victim is a member of a protected class. Distinguishing bullying from harassment can be challenging in specific cases.
Understanding these distinctions is crucial for identifying and addressing instances of discrimination, harassment, or bullying in the workplace. It enables individuals to seek appropriate legal remedies and create a more inclusive and respectful work environment.
What To Do If You Have Been Harassed
If you feel that you are a victim of workplace harassment, you should:
- Report the Harassment: Report the harassment, in writing, to the appropriate party. If you are not sure who the responsible party is, look in your employee handbook or speak to someone in the Human Resources Department.
- Document the Incident(s): Keep a detailed record of all instances of harassment, including dates, times, locations, individuals involved, and a description of what occurred.
- File a Complaint: If you are a protected class member, you will need to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) prior to filing a lawsuit.
- Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles Harassment Lawyer: Employees have a right to expect an environment free from harassment to perform their job-related duties.
- Take Care of Yourself: Dealing with harassment can be emotionally draining. Practice self-care by seeking counseling or therapy if needed. Focus on maintaining your well-being and exploring avenues for support.
5 Important Facts About Filing a Workplace Harassment Claim in Los Angeles
If you are a victim of workplace harassment in Los Angeles, it is important to make sure you are making informed decisions. With this in mind, here are five important facts you need to know:
1. Workplace Harassment Can Take Many Forms
While we listed some of the most common examples of workplace harassment above, harassment can take many different forms. If you believe that you have experienced harassment at work, you should speak with a Los Angeles harassment lawyer as soon as possible.
2. There Are Many Ways to Prove Workplace Harassment
When we speak with employees who have experienced harassment in the workplace, one of their most common fears is that they won’t be able to prove what happened to them. While proving harassment can be challenging (especially when managers or supervisors lie about what happened), there are many ways an experienced Los Angeles harassment lawyer can work to expose the truth and hold the responsible parties accountable.
3. It Is Important to Take Action Promptly
While there are several ways to prove workplace harassment, unnecessary delays can make it more difficult to establish a claim. There is no harm in contacting a lawyer to find out if you have a claim, but if you wait, it will eventually be too late.
4. There Are Several Remedies for Workplace Harassment
When you hire a Los Angeles harassment lawyer at Attorneys For Employees to represent you, your lawyer will help you decide which remedy (or remedies) to pursue. There are several possible options—from getting reassigned or reinstated to recovering compensatory and punitive damages.
5. Your First Step is Easy
While it takes courage to stand up for your legal rights, your first step is easy. All you have to do is give us a call or send us a message. Everything you discuss with your lawyer at Attorneys For Employees will be held in strict confidence, and we will make sure you feel comfortable, confident, and informed every step of the way.
Don’t Suffer in Silence: Contact a Los Angeles Harassment Lawyer Today
If you believe your employer has failed to provide you with a harassment-free environment, contact the learned Los Angeles Harassment Lawyers at Attorneys for Employees today. We will review your case to see how we can best serve you.