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What Constitutes Workplace Harassment in California?
Workplace harassment in California is any unwanted behavior that is based on a protected characteristic, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and others, that is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment. Protected characteristics are defined by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Examples of workplace harassment can include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal harassment, such as slurs, epithets, and derogatory comments
- Physical harassment, such as unwanted touching or assault
- Visual harassment, such as derogatory posters or cartoons
- Sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual advances, comments, or gestures
- Retaliation for reporting or opposing harassment
It’s important to note that a single incident may be sufficient to constitute harassment if it is particularly severe, such as a physical assault or threats of violence. Additionally, harassment by a non-employee, such as a customer or vendor, may also create a hostile work environment if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take appropriate remedial action. We suggest you contact one of our employment lawyers if you are unsure about your situation.
What Happens When You Place A Claim For Workplace Harassment In CA?
- Filing a complaint: The claimant may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The complaint should include details about the harassment and how it has affected the claimant’s employment.
- Investigation: The DFEH or EEOC will conduct an investigation into the complaint, which may include interviews with the claimant and witnesses, a review of relevant documents, and on-site inspections.
- Determination: Based on the findings of the investigation, the DFEH or EEOC will make a determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to support the claim of workplace harassment.
- Remedies: If the DFEH or EEOC finds that workplace harassment has occurred, they may offer remedies to the claimant, such as monetary damages, job reinstatement, or policy changes within the workplace to prevent future harassment.
- Litigation: If the claimant and the employer are unable to reach a resolution through the DFEH or EEOC, the claimant may choose to pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit in court.
It’s important to note that the process for addressing workplace harassment claims can be complex and time-consuming. If you have been the victim of workplace harassment, it’s best to consult with a qualified employment attorney for guidance on your rights and options.
Can I File A Workplace Harassment Claim Even If I Quit My Job?
Yes, in California, you can file a workplace harassment claim even if you have quit your job. However, quitting your job may affect your ability to recover certain remedies, such as job reinstatement or back pay.
As there are strict time limits for filing claims under California law, it’s best to act quickly if you believe you’re experience workplace harassment. An attorney can help you assess your situation and determine the best course of action for pursuing a harassment claim in your place of work.
Can I Be Retaliated Against For Reporting Workplace Harassment in California?
No, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting workplace harassment in CA. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from taking adverse action against an employee for opposing practices made unlawful by the FEHA or for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in any proceeding under the FEHA. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for reporting workplace harassment, you may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
What Are The Consequences For An Employer Found To Have Committed Workplace Harassment in CA?
If an employer is found to have committed workplace harassment in California, there can be a range of consequences, including:
Monetary damages: The employer may be required to pay compensation to the victim(s) for lost wages, emotional distress, and other losses.
Injunctive relief: The court may order the employer to take specific actions to prevent further harassment and/or to correct the effects of past harassment.
Civil penalties: The employer may face monetary fines imposed by the state.
Attorney’s fees: The employer may be required to pay the victim’s attorney’s fees.
Reputation damage: The case may attract media attention and damage the employer’s reputation.
In some cases, individual employees may also be held personally liable for workplace harassment. Employers should have strong anti-harassment policies and take proactive steps to prevent and address harassment in the workplace.
Marquee Makes A Difference For Harassment Claims In The Workplace
It is crucial to understand what constitutes an harassment in the workplace if you believe unwanted behavior occurred based on a protected characteristic. It is worth mentioning that a single instance can be considered workplace harassment if it is particularly severe, such as physical assault or a threat of violence. Furthermore, if a non-employee, like a customer or vendor, engages in harassing behavior and the employer was aware or should have been aware of it, but failed to take proper corrective action, it can still create a hostile work environment. At MAG, our experienced employment attorneys can assist in gathering evidence and presenting a solid case on your behalf.
If you believe you have a workplace harassment claim in California, the attorneys at Marquee Advocacy Group want to hear your story. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help you determine whether a harassment under a protected characteristic occurred, or if a situation is particularly sever, and can give you an estimate of the damages you could receive in a successful lawsuit.
Through our many years of experience, we insist that you don’t take on such an overwhelming situation alone. Whether you need a California employment lawyer for Unpaid Wages, Leave of Absence, Employee and Independent Contractor Misclassification or other employment dispute, we’re here to help you with your wrongful termination claim. If you or someone you know has claims about these employment scenarios, call us at 1-844-493-9455 (4WE-WILL) or fill out our contact form today.