Hostile Work Environment Attorneys in Irvine
Protecting Your Right to a Harassment Free Workplace
If you have been mistreated in the workplace, harassed, or feel unsafe when you go to work, Badame Law Group can help. We work to hold employers responsible for allowing the hostile work environment to continue, especially after incidents have been reported.
What Qualifies as a Hostile Work Environment?
In employment law, there are many situations that fall under the category of a hostile work environment. An offhand remark or annoying behavior from coworkers does not necessarily rise to the legal definition of a hostile work environment.
To qualify as a hostile work environment under the law, the behavior must be:
- Discriminatory in nature
- Pervasive, persistent, and severe
- Disruptive to the victim's ability to work
- Known by the employer, and the employer does not sufficiently intervene
Simply put, a hostile work environment is one in which an employee is being harassed or feels intimidated or threatened. This can be because of a supervisor, employer, or co-worker.
Examples of behavior in a hostile work environment, include:
- Ethnic or racial slurs
- Unwanted touching
- Rude jokes or gestures
- Leering and unwanted advances
- Putting offensive content on display
- Vulgar statements or jokes
- Requesting sexual favors
- Demanding sexual quid pro quos
- Jokes about someone's religion/age
- Mocking someone's disability
How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment Claim
To prove you are working in a hostile work environment, you need to show that the behavior rose to the definition of hostile, i.e. was severe, pervasive, and persistent as well as discriminatory.
In such a case, it is important to keep records of all communications regarding your situation. This means any emails, voicemails, memos, letters, etc. that contain harassing language. This also includes any communication between you and your supervisor or Human Resources (HR) informing them of the incident(s).
Keep in mind that communication is not limited to the workplace or work hours. Any unwelcome communication you receive at home or outside work hours is still relevant. Such communication can also show how extensive the harassment may be.
You will then want to report your claim to your HR department or workplace's internal complaint system. While they may not take adequate action to stop the harassment, bringing the claim to your workplace first can strengthen your case later in court. Additionally, you are legally protected from retaliation for reporting the harassment.
You can then take this information to your employment attorney. Your lawyer can work with you to develop your hostile work environment case.
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