Some problems in life never seem to go away. Playground bullying eventually becomes workplace bullying, and harassment can easily turn an otherwise productive office into a hostile work environment.
Federal and state employment laws prohibit workplace harassment related to any protected class. These include harassment due to your:
- National origin
- Religious beliefs and practices
- Skin color
- Physical or mental disability
- Age (if age 40 or older)
- Genetic information
- Veteran status
At Teren Law, p.c., we believe that every employee deserves to work in a harassment-free environment. If you have suffered sexual harassment or harassment based on any of the characteristics mentioned above, you the need the help of experienced attorney Pamela Teren.
Proving Harassment: How Explicit Does It Need To Be?
In order to be legally actionable, the harassment you have suffered must generally be related to a protected class. In many cases, the intent and the basis for harassment are clear. Racial slurs, offensive jokes and other forms of obvious harassment are sadly common.
That being said, not all acts of harassment need to be overtly related to a protected class. If you can show that the harasser was motivated by a protected class, subtle acts of harassment can be tied into the larger pattern of evidence. It's a good idea to keep detailed notes.
How Should You Respond To Harassment?
If being harassed by a coworker, it is usually necessary to report the behavior to your supervisor or another company official. If the company fails to address the problem, you may then have grounds to pursue legal action.
When discussing the matter with your employer, be assertive but professional. You may be worried about protecting your job, but please don't let the fear of getting fired cause you to do anything that could weaken your case. For instance, don't sign anything stating that you didn't experience or witness harassment.
In situations like this, victims too often get fired for reporting harassment (which is illegal). If you signed a document absolving the company of liability, you could end up without a job and without the ability to pursue a lawsuit.
You have one year after the latest act of harassment to file a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) claim.
Discuss Your Case For Free With A Skilled Lawyer
Located in Redondo Beach, Teren Law, p.c., offers free initial consultations to prospective clients in the Greater Los Angeles area. To schedule an appointment, call us at 310-870-0375 or fill out our online contact form.