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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 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 in California

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:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disability

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
  • Offensive or vulgar jokes told by an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer 

About Sexual Harassment in California

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.

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. 
  • 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 California Harassment Lawyer: Employees have a right to expect an environment free from harassment to perform their job-related duties. 

Contact Attorneys for Employees Today to Review Your Case

If you believe your employer has failed to provide you with a harassment-free environment, contact the learned legal professionals at LFE today. We will review your case to see how we can best serve you.