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Harassment and bullying can turn your workplace into a hostile environment. You may not feel welcome in your workplace, or you may constantly fear for your job or safety. Below, our hostile work environment lawyers in Los Angeles discusses hostile work environment laws in California.
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Are you suffering from a hostile work environment? Consider speaking to our hostile work environment lawyer in Los Angeles. During a free evaluation, we can answer your legal questions and help you to understand your best legal options. Call us at (310) 499-0140 or contact us online to request a confidential consultation.
What Is a Hostile Work Environment in California?
Hostile work environment is a legal term used to describe certain types of harassment that occur at work. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a workplace is hostile if a reasonable person would consider it intimidating, hostile or abusive. Do you believe that you have experienced or are currently experiencing a hostile work environment? Consider the following statements:
- The conduct disrupts my emotional tranquility in the workplace;
- It affects my ability to perform my job duties as usual; and,
- It interferes with and undermines my personal sense of well-being.
It is important to understand that no employee should have to endure a hostile work environment. You may have options for recourse. In any case, you should consider speaking with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible about your potential options.
What Forms of Harassment Cause a Hostile Work Environment?
Some of the more common forms of workplace harassment include:
- Sexual harassment
- Disability harassment
- Pregnancy harassment
- Racial harassment
- National origin harassment
- Religious beliefs harassment
- Same sex harassment
- Email harassment
Examples of behavior that may lead to a hostile work environment include, but are not limited to:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
- Threats and/or retaliation
- Electronic harassment, including via emails, texts or social media
- Derogatory comments or slurs
- Interference with work performance
- Leering, impeding or blocking movement
How Do I Prove a Hostile Work Environment in California?
You may have a boss or even a co-worker who yells and screams at work and creates a high level of stress. Rest assured; you are not alone. A recent survey of 10,000 employees showed that 75% of workers feel their boss is hostile and creates an uncomfortable place for them to work and do their job. However, although you may believe you are in a hostile work environment, you may or may not have a claim against your employer unless the hostility is based on some form of discrimination.
In order to prove a hostile work environment claim, you must be able to show the following:
- You are a protected class under federal and/or California law;
- Your employer, supervisor or coworker engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate behavior;
- This behavior unreasonably interfered with your work performance or created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment;
- You have suffered damages due to the hostile work environment.
What Should You Do If You Are Faced With a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment can be mentally exhausting and negatively affect your self-esteem. You may feel like there is nowhere to turn and believe that the only solution is to quit your job.
However, while you must take care of your mental and physical well-being, you shouldn’t quit your job unless you absolutely must. Your employer will likely delete any hard evidence of the harassment once you quit.
The evidence lost could be vital to a successful California workplace harassment lawsuit. To retain access to this evidence, you should stay at your job as long as possible and take the following steps:
1. Ask the offenders to stop
To begin with, you should ask the individual or individuals creating the hostility to stop. For a successful harassment lawsuit, you will need to prove that the harassment was unwelcomed. Discourage the harassment firmly and do not reciprocate the offending behavior.
2. File a report
If the hostility continues, your next step is to file a report with your employer’s human resources department. Your employer must have the opportunity to investigate the complaint and eliminate the offending behavior. A harassment lawsuit filed later will fail if your employer was unaware of the situation and had not been given the opportunity to address the hostile work environment.
Make sure the report is in writing to protect yourself and any potential lawsuit you may have. Simply mentioning the problem to your supervisor might not be enough to hold your employer responsible.
Also, you should keep a written record of every instance of harassment you experienced and attach it to the complaint you file with the human resources department. Include details of what was said, when it was said, and who said it.
3. Contact a hostile work environment lawyer
If your employer does not take appropriate steps to stop the mistreatment, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Contact an experienced hostile work environment lawyer who can counsel and advise you on the next steps. At our law firm, we counsel workers who are under pressure and unsure of their legal options. We will ensure you understand your legal rights and that your voice is heard.
Contact Our Hostile Work Environment Lawyers in Los Angeles for a free evaluation
If you have experienced or are currently experiencing a hostile work environment, we recommend that you get in touch with our team as soon as possible. At YMS, we take a personal and compassionate approach to these cases. By combining this approach with our extensive litigation experience, we can take the time to comprehensively understand your case. From there, we can develop a strategy that works toward the best-possible outcome. Request a free, confidential consultation with us today. Call us at (310) 499-0140 or contact us online and we will be in touch with you soon.