When you go to work in Culver City, CA, you’re there to earn income for yourself and, in many cases, your family. It should be a place where you can come, work hard, and be free of any hostility directed your way because of some immutable characteristic. Sadly, that’s not always what happens. There are times when work can be a place where someone or several people, in effect, act as bullies based on who you are. California law offers some protection for these situations. Unfortunately, the process for handling these claims is often complex and winding. At the Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez, we help workers who are dealing with a hostile work environment get the protection and restitution that they deserve.
A hostile work environment occurs when someone finds themselves the victim of consistent or severe treatment based on a characteristic that is protected under California law. These protected characteristics include:
It’s important to realize that the behavior must be recurring. This means that, in most cases, a one-off offensive joke, while something that should be addressed so that it doesn’t occur again, is not going to be considered indicative of a hostile work environment. Similarly, any behavior that might be described as occasional, sporadic, isolated, or trivial is unlikely to qualify. The behaviors must be persistent. The exception to this is if the behavior is particularly severe. An isolated incident may qualify for harassment if it is something that threatens your physical safety or well-being. This could apply even if the action is not related to a protected class.
The first thing to do if you are experiencing a hostile work environment is to say something. There is always the possibility that no one is aware of the problem, and it needs to be brought to their attention. This could mean saying something to the individual doing the harassing, letting them know that their behavior is a problem for you. It could also mean going to a supervisor.
Your employer is responsible for addressing a hostile work environment and taking appropriate steps to ensure that it ceases. It’s when they fail to do this that you may have a claim against them. However, without saying something and giving the problem a chance to be addressed and resolved, it is unlikely that your claim will be successful, with the exception of particularly severe behavior that threatens your safety.
If you are unable to see the issue resolved internally, you may have a case to file a claim. It’s ideal to work with an employment lawyer for this process. Hostile work environments are addressed under employment law and handled through a special process for handling employment issues. Working with an experienced lawyer can help ensure that you follow the proper procedure, and a lawyer can also make sure that you have a sound case.
A: In Culver City and all of California, a hostile work environment occurs when someone undergoes treatment that must be both:
California law protects a variety of characteristics, including race, religion, and sexual orientation. Any time these characteristics are either the direct target of harassing behavior or the reason a person is being targeted, then harassment may be a possibility. However, the behavior, be it mocking or another form of bullying, must be either frequently occurring despite being told to cease, or it must be so severe that a single occurrence is enough to warrant immediate attention. If you aren’t sure if you have a case or not, the Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez would be happy to take a look at your situation.
A: Under California law, the characteristics that are protected against workplace harassment include:
A: You don’t have to have a lawyer help you with a hostile work environment case, but it could be the difference in whether your case is successful or not. Two things can often be the difference in a hostile work claim. One is that the proper procedures be followed. There are a series of bureaucratic processes, institutions, and forms that need to be followed to properly file and pursue a hostile work environment claim. Working with a lawyer can ensure that the proper protocol is followed, avoiding any unnecessary delays and expenses. The second key to winning your case is having an airtight argument for why you have experienced harassment. That’s also something that a lawyer can help you put together.
A: You cannot be fired for bringing a hostile work environment claim. Such an action would be considered workplace retaliation, and California law protects workers from retaliation. Firing also isn’t the only form of retaliation that could occur. If an employer doesn’t give you a promotion that you otherwise deserve, that might be retaliation. The same is true if your employer punitively tries to make the workplace more difficult for you. If you are retaliated against, you may be due compensation for things like lost wages and punitive damages.
Work should be a place where you don’t have to fear that others will treat you poorly because of an innate characteristic. That’s why California law offers the protections that it does. However, those protections don’t mean much if you don’t stand up and demand that they be honored. At the Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez, we help people do just that. If you think that you might have a hostile work claim, contact us today.