In the California workplace, all workers should feel safe, however, due to engrained prejudices, not everyone does.

Harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and creates a toxic work environment for those subjected to it.

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If you are experiencing workplace harassment by a co-worker or your employer, there are legal remedies that can be taken.

In California, workplace harassment is unlawful and our skilled legal team is here to support you. At Ghozland Law Firm, we understand how painful and difficult harassment matters can be.

What Constitutes Harassment?

There are many forms of harassment that can occur in the workplace. The Fair Employment and Housing Act legally defines the term harassment as any unwanted or offensive behavior targeted against a protected class that is either pervasive or severe.

Harassment can either be sexual or non-sexual with a basis founded from prejudices against an individual or group. Whether the harassment is malicious or unintentional it may result in adverse consequences to your career.

The two main categories of harassment under the FEHA are “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment”.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

According to California law under FEHA “quid pro quo” is a type of sexual harassment that involves a superior requesting sexual favors from an employee in return for benefits or with the threat adverse employment conditions.

The types of benefits as well as threats that could be involved in a circumstance of quid pro quo harassment are, but not limited to:

  • A monetary raise
  • A job promotion
  • Lightened job duties
  • Better work assignments or shifts
  • Threat of termination
  • Threat of demotion from a position
  • Threat of less desirable work assignments or shifts

The promises and threats that employees may be faced with greatly undermine an individual’s ability to do their job and is a gross violation to the laws set forth under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

If the supervisor fails to follow through with the promise of benefits or threat of adverse employment conditions, then a quid pro quo did not take place and the traditional course of action is redirected to the second form of harassment known as “hostile work environment”.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment within your workplace, contact Ghozland Law Firm to learn the potential legal ramifications that you can pursue in order to enact justice.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

California law defines a “hostile work environment” as a pervasive or severe act that involves abusive behavior that subjects either subordinates or co-workers to experience an abusive work atmosphere. A hostile work environment may be sexually fueled or based on biases against a protected class.

Sexual harassment involves inappropriate compliments, sexual advances, and unwelcomed touching in the workplace. In addition, sexual harassment can also include offensive remarks against an individual’s sex from a person of the same or opposite sex.

Another form of harassment in the workplace can stem from biases and prejudice against a protected class. Under the California Fair Employment Housing Act the classes protected from discrimination and harassment in the work place are listed, but not limited to:

  • Race
  • Nation of Origin
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Marital Status
  • Military or Veteran Status

If you are having an issue at work involving any type of harassment, the best course of action is to compile any evidence that you have in order to provide proof that the harassment is not an isolated incident.

How to File a Complaint

Experiencing harassment in the workplace can cause an individual to feel hopeless. The best way to combat unwanted harassment is to start by filing an internal complaint within the company. If your company does not have an internal structure to allow you to report inappropriate behavior, it is best to put them on notice of the harassment you are being subjected to.

If an internal investigation has resulted in unsatisfactory results or if your company did not conduct an internal investigation, the best way to proceed is by filing a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The EEOC and DFEH will conduct an investigation into your claim that will lead to bringing together both parties to negotiate the best outcome. If negotiations fail to meet an amicable conclusion, then it is best to contact an attorney to learn what legal remedies may be taken.

How are You Protected?

Victims of harassment often believe that they have to stay silent in order to maintain their employment. However, there are certain protections afforded to those that file a complaint against their company.

Under California Labor Laws there is an anti workplace-retaliation rule set in place in order to prevent those that seek justice from staying silent in fear of losing their job. If you have been a victim of workplace harassment, contact our law firm today.

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