Glendale Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

Glendale Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

Glendale Hostile Work Environment Attorney

Glendale Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

Free Consultation

Maintaining employment is vital to earning an income and sustaining your quality of life in Glendale, CA. A full-time work schedule is typically 40 hours per week, or 2,080 hours per year. Therefore, employees will spend a significant amount of their lives in the workplace.

You are obligated to follow the terms of employment. Nevertheless, you still have rights within the employer-employee relationship. One of the protected rights, both at the federal and state levels, is the right to not work in a hostile work environment.

If you experience dread each time you travel to work, you may be experiencing such an environment. MM Law has represented a multitude of Glendale clients whose employers are violating their right to a harassment-free workplace.

Our team has experience across all industries, in all professions, and at all employment levels. We have the knowledge and skill to address your specific circumstance. If you believe you are experiencing a hostile workplace, we can work with you to explore all your potential options. We can help you obtain justice, compensation, and other applicable relief.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

Although you may have significant disagreements with your coworkers and supervisors, a workplace must meet specific parameters to be considered hostile. California law defines a hostile workplace as an environment where inappropriate behavior is pervasive and severe.

This environment causes a hostile and abusive atmosphere for workers. Targeted workers are made to feel humiliated, offended, distressed, or intruded upon by the inappropriate behavior. This escalates to the extent that their emotional state or ability to do their job is affected.

Situations That Constitute a Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment and assault are two of the most recognized forms of a hostile work environment. The targeted employee will face being romantically or sexually pursued against their consent. This creates a hostile and potentially dangerous work environment for them. A hostile work environment is not only about sexual harassment—situations that can also qualify include:

  • Workplace Bullying or Ridiculing: These situations can be unfortunately common in workplaces. Others in the workplace may target you with emotional or physical abuse that makes the environment feel unsafe.
  • Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment: Any type of discrimination, including abusive comments or actions, toward an employee for reasons that fall under California’s protected classes, results in a hostile work environment. This should be handled with legal action.

Protected Classes

Although discrimination and hostility can certainly make a work environment uncomfortable, that does not necessarily make the behavior illegal. The actions of the aggressor must be motivated by a legally protected class or characteristic. The protected classes are:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Age, if the target is over 40 years old
  • Medical condition
  • Mental disability
  • Physical disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Marital status
  • Military or veteran status
  • Ancestry
  • Genetic information

Potential Perpetrators

There is a common misconception that only supervisors can create a hostile work environment. The FEHA states that a hostile work environment can be caused by:

  • Employers
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Coworkers
  • Customers
  • Clients
  • Independent contractors

This misconception continues because it is difficult to sue your employer if the person creating a hostile environment is not a supervisor. If the perpetrator is a supervisor, the employer will be directly liable for the actions.

Although it may be more difficult, it is still possible to sue your employer for a hostile work environment if they were negligent. An example would be if they knew about the inappropriate behaviors but took no action, allowing them to continue.

Agency Responsible for Enforcement

The agency responsible for resolving labor discrimination and hostile work environments for California employees is the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). If you believe you are facing a hostile work environment, this is the organization that will investigate your complaint and determine if there was any wrongdoing. Filing an effective DFEH claim that results in a Right-To-Sue letter begins with understanding the organization.

  • The Enforced Laws The California DFEH enforces two laws: the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FEHA prohibits discrimination against any member of California’s protected classes. It also protects any employee who reports discrimination in good faith against retaliation. This law overlaps significantly with federal anti-discrimination laws but expands the number of protected classes. The CFRA requires employers to afford employees family leave that can be used to care for the employee’s own serious health condition or a close relative’s serious health condition. Close relatives include spouses, domestic partners, children, and parents of the worker.
  • Employers Regulated The California DFEH applies to all businesses based in California that have five or more employees. The laws do not apply to an employee living in California but working for a business in another state. Though the employee is located in California, the law does not have jurisdiction over a company not based within the state. They will, however, apply for an employee that does not live in California but does work for a California-based employer.
  • Filing Deadlines To evaluate your complaint, the DFEH requires that it be filed within one year of the discrimination or other applicable events occurring. This long filing limit is meant to provide the employee with ample time to find evidence for the claim and establish a pattern, especially if the inappropriate behavior is happening to multiple employees.
  • Right-To-Sue Letter California employees are not permitted to sue their employers for hostile work environments without first obtaining DHEF permission. The organization will file a right-to-sue letter after it has completed its investigation if it finds grounds for your case to proceed.

Navigating through the DHEF process will generally require consultation with an experienced hostile work environment attorney. The MM Law team handles hostile workplace cases with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, helping clients create the most effective case with our extensive knowledge of DFEH regulations and processes.

Hostile Workplace Examples

There are many different actions and behaviors that constitute a hostile work environment. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney is the most effective way to examine your circumstances for any wrongdoing. Some examples that may meet the criteria of a hostile workplace are:

  • Exposure to offensive materials or language like sexist remarks, racial slurs, or pornographic materials
  • Intimidation or physical assault
  • Ridicule or mockery of a person for their disability or medical condition
  • Unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments or physical touching
  • Leering
  • Soliciting, sending, or forwarding sexually suggestive letters, emails, notes, or images
  • Retaliation after an employee reports a hostile work environment

These behaviors must be pervasive, severe, and persistent enough to disrupt your emotional state or ability to do your job. Although a single comment or action may be incredibly offensive and damaging, it will not necessarily create a hostile work environment.

Furthermore, there are many inappropriate and hurtful behaviors that will not constitute a hostile workplace. It may be harmful and create an unpleasant work environment if someone bullies you for things like wearing glasses or your hair color. However, winning a claim requires the behaviors to be related to a protected class.

FAQs About Glendale, CA Employment Law

What Damages Can Be Collected From a Hostile Work Environment Claim?

The damages you may receive from a hostile work environment claim are typically monetary. The damages that you can be awarded include funds for:

  • Emotional damage or stress
  • Psychological damage or stress
  • Lost wages

Speaking with an experienced employment attorney can provide a more comprehensive list of the damages that you might collect in your case.

How Do You Prove a Hostile Work Environment?

It is important to keep a thorough record of all instances where discrimination or harassment occurred. This is the most effective way to prove a hostile work environment. Because you must prove a pervasive and persistent pattern, this record will be vital for your case. It should include any relevant emails, text messages, and written personal accounts. It is especially important to keep any proof that you informed your employer. This can be used as evidence to show that they knew about the harassment.

How Much Do Hostile Work Environment Cases Settle For?

There are a multitude of factors that will affect a settlement in this type of claim. These include:

  • The amount of money you have lost
  • How damaging the workplace was
  • How thorough the evidence is

Because settlements are confidential, there are also no statistics on settlements for hostile work environment cases. Without speaking to a local employment lawyer, it is impossible to estimate what your settlement could be worth.

Do I Need a Harassment Attorney?

It is legally possible to handle your own hostile work environment case. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has a plethora of information that can help you file. However, this information can be astonishingly confusing. This is a major issue if you are trying to build your case within the deadline period. A harassment attorney can guide your evidence collection and communicate with the court on your behalf. This can help you relax during a stressful time.

Hostile Work Environment Attorney

California employees have many rights in their workplace. Protecting those rights is vital for a healthy and fulfilled life. MM Law deeply understands the importance of a positive work environment. We know the severe damage that can arise when the workplace becomes hostile. Contact the MM Law office to schedule a consultation to determine your standing with a hostile work environment claim.


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