Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Employment Harassment Claims in California

Explaining the Various Employment Harassment Claims in California

Every Los Angeles, California employee, is entitled to his or her right to work in a harassment-free working environment. But then, a lot of them face such a form of unfair treatment in the workplace, as well as other discriminatory acts while performing their job duties. As it is, this employment issue happens in every aspect of one’s work, from the hiring process to his or her termination. While harassment is prohibited under the existing federal and state employment and labor laws, some employers disregard them, failing to address such matters involving their employees who are being subjected to unfair treatment, discrimination, and a hostile working environment.

As an employee in California who is continuously being subjected to harassment, it is important that you assert your rights and address the issue head-on. Some employees find it difficult to speak up on the matter out of fear of getting demoted, deprived of salary or compensation, or even terminated from employment. As such, consulting the best California employment harassment lawyers is the best solution if you think your co-worker or immediate superior’s persistent discriminatory treatment is too much for you to handle.

About employment harassment in California employment

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is any unwelcome conduct by your immediate superior or co-worker which targets your race, color, religion, sex (to include pregnancy), national origin, age (if you are 40 years or older), or disability. While this is a typical workplace issue in California, not all circumstances of harassment are actionable in the courts of law. There are instances wherein Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents are not considered illegal under the current federal and state employment and labor laws. Employment harassment is only unlawful if these elements are present:

·         The conduct should be sufficiently pervasive or severe;
·         The employee endures such conduct as a condition of continued employment;
·         Such conduct promotes a hostile, intimidating, or abusive work environment; and
·         It causes a tangible change in an employee’s benefit or status.

Aside from harassment on the basis of a person’s protected characteristic, it also becomes unlawful if the employer, co-worker, or immediate superior harasses an employee just because he or she is engaged in a “protected activity.” Examples of which is filing a discrimination charge against his or her employer, testifying or participating in an investigation, proceeding or lawsuit against his or her employer, and refusing to take part in an illegal employment activity. Under the prevailing federal and state employment and labor laws, it is prohibited for employers to harass individuals in retaliation for the latter’s involvement in a “protected activity.”

Moreover, conduct that is considered pervasive or severe may include, but not limited to, the following:

·         Name-calling;
·         Jokes and slurs that are offensive in nature;
·         Intimidation, ridicule, or mockery; and
·         Digital or print media that are offensive in nature.

Typical employment harassment claims in California

Employment harassment claims usually involve the victim’s race, color, gender, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and age, among the many legally protected characteristics. Harassers in such claims usually involve the manager or supervisor of the victim, as well as the boss of the company, a co-worker, or even a non-employee.

A common employment harassment claim in California involves sexual harassment. According to a top employment harassment lawyer, it is illegal for an employer to sexually harass employees, regardless if they are male or female or that the harasser is either a male or a female. This form of harassment involves sexual misconduct that is physical, verbal or visual in nature. It may also involve the harasser requiring an employee to give in to sexual advances or favors in exchange for a promotion, salary raise, or any advancement in employment. Such is called quid pro quo sexual harassment, and an employee who refuses may likely be subjected to further pervasive conduct, which, in turn, would create a hostile work environment.

Seeking legal expertise with an experienced lawyer

Before you seek the legal expertise of any experienced California employment harassment lawyers, you must first provide your employer the opportunity to address your situation. You must first provide your human resources department a written complaint of the issue, and if it reaches your employer but fails to take action on it, then you can exercise your legal action. It is at this point that you hire a seasoned Los Angeles harassment lawyer in California to help you establish an employment harassment claim against your employer.