Newport Beach Workplace Harassment Lawyer
People tend to think of sexual harassment when they think of harassment in the workplace, but every day in California workers are harassed because of their race, color, national origin, accent, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and yes, because of their sex. Bullying, harassment, and hazing are all forms of unlawful discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The attorneys at The Garza Firm are committed to stamping out unlawful harassment in the workplaces of Los Angeles and Orange County and making sure employees are fully compensated for the harm they have been forced to endure. You have the right to be treated fairly at work with dignity and respect. The Garza Firm can help. Contact our experienced Newport Beach workplace harassment lawyers today.
Workplace Harassment Is Illegal in California
Workplace harassment is an unlawful employment practice under FEHA, California’s primary anti-discrimination law. An employer cannot harass an employee, job applicant, unpaid intern or volunteer, or a person providing services under a contract, because of the person’s race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
California businesses are required by law to “take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring.” Employees who commit harassment can be held personally liable for their harassing conduct. In addition, companies are also liable for harassment if the business owners or supervisors knew or should have known of the harassing conduct yet failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. This is true even if the harassment was perpetrated by nonemployees, such as customers, clients, vendors or suppliers.
Examples of Unlawful Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment that creates a hostile or abusive environment was recognized as unlawful by none other than the United States Supreme Court as far back as 1986. In that case (Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson), the Court held that “Title VII affords employees the right to work in an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult.”
Employers can be held liable for harassment that is so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment and creates a hostile environment. Companies are strictly liable for harassment perpetrated by supervisors, and they are also liable for harassment by others if they knew or should have known about the conduct but failed to take appropriate action to end the harassment.
A hostile environment can be created by conduct that is severe or pervasive. Even a single instance of harassment could create a hostile environment if it is so offensive, threatening or humiliating that it alters the work environment or unreasonably interferes with one’s ability to do the job. Likewise, the occasional offhand comment or inappropriate joke might not create a hostile environment, but inappropriate conduct that occurs every day could.
Harassment that is targeted at someone because of a protected characteristic is unlawful, even if the harasser was just joking and not trying to offend. If the target was offended and their offense was reasonable, then workplace harassment can be said to exist. Workplace harassment claims can also be brought by employees who were not the target of the harassment but who were nevertheless forced to endure a hostile work environment because of the harassment of others.
Examples of workplace harassment include:
- Racial, ethnic, or religious slurs or epithets
- Racial, religious or ethnic jokes
- Derogatory comments
- Unpleasant or demeaning working conditions or assignments, disparate treatment
- Workplace segregation
- Offensive racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes
- Displaying offensive images or symbols (nooses, swastikas)
- Excluding certain people from work outings
- Enforcing dress or appearance rules without making reasonable accommodation for one’s religious, racial, or cultural needs
- Using racist code words and coded language
- Physically threatening and abusive behavior
Harassment because of sex includes sexual harassment, gender harassment, and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Contact The Garza Firm Today
If you have been subjected to workplace harassment in Los Angeles or Orange County based on your sex, race, religion or other characteristic protected under the law, The Garza Firm will fight for you to hold your employer accountable and recover compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact our experienced Newport Beach workplace harassment lawyers today.