Irvine Hostile Workplace Lawyer
We have all faced some form of uncomfortable or unwelcome behavior at work. Not all such annoyances are against the law. But when inappropriate behavior is severe or pervasive and targets a worker–or group of workers–based on certain legally protected traits, that is considered a “hostile work environment.” At that point, we are not just talking about a mild inconvenience. We are talking about illegal employment discrimination.
Are you currently in what you think is a hostile work environment? If so, a skilled Irvine hostile workplace lawyer may be able to help. At The Garza Firm, our lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience in pursuing employment discrimination claims based on hostile work environments. We can review your situation and advise you if you have a potential case against your employer.
Identifying a Hostile Work Environment
Federal and California state laws provide that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race, sex, religion, and disability. Obviously, this means you cannot fire or refuse to hire someone based on such traits. But it also requires employers to take steps to address hostile conduct in the workplace that targets employees based on these same traits.
For example, sexual harassment often creates a hostile workplace. If a male supervisor targets female employees and demands sexual favors in exchange for work-related benefits, that is proof of a hostile work environment. But even a scenario where managers and co-workers make off-color or offensive jokes targeting Black or other non-white workers can qualify. Similarly, if there is a pattern of ostracizing or segregating employees based on protected traits, that too can be seen as creating a hostile workplace.
Essentially, if someone is the target of workplace bullying based on their membership (or perceived membership) in a legally protected class, they have a potential hostile workplace claim.
Taking Action Against Hostile Workplaces
A California employer can be held liable for a hostile workplace if one of its managers caused the hostility in the first place. An employer can also be held responsible if it was made aware of a hostile work environment created by non-managers–including other employees or even customers–but took no action to correct the problem. The individual parties who directly engaged in the hostile behavior may also be personally liable.
Proving a hostile workplace generally requires proof that the behavior in question was offensive both subjectively to you, as well as offensive by an objective standard–i.e., whether a “reasonable person” would consider the challenged conduct offensive. If you can meet this burden of proof, a court can award you monetary damages, including compensation for your emotional distress and any out-of-pocket losses you suffered as a result of the misconduct.
Contact The Garza Firm Today
If you have additional questions–or you believe that you have been a victim of illegal harassment–and you need to speak with a qualified Irvine hostile workplace attorney, contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.