California’s Verbal Harassment Laws - Glendale Harassment Lawyer

Verbal Harassment Law in California

Verbal harassment law in California prohibits many types of activities at work – and if you’ve been the victim of it, you could be entitled to financial compensation. You may need to talk to a Glendale harassment attorney right away.

Verbal Harassment Law in California

In the state of California, many types of verbal harassment meet the definition for workplace violence. Workplace violence is something that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is “intended to control or cause, or is capable of causing, death or serious bodily injury to oneself or others, or damage to property. Workplace violence includes abusive behavior toward authority, intimidating or harassing behavior, and threats.”

As a worker, you have employee rights. One of those rights is to enjoy a workplace free from many forms of verbal harassment.

Verbal harassment laws are designed to prevent many types of:

  • Cursing
  • Innuendoes
  • Insults
  • Jokes
  • Mocking
  • Name-calling
  • Slurs
  • Threats
  • Yelling

Verbal abuse isn’t always illegal, though. It’s probably not against the law for someone at work to call you an “idiot” or to toss around other insults.

However, it is illegal when it’s coupled with sexual harassment or racial discrimination. Verbal abuse is also against the law when it’s tied to another type of harassment or discrimination. Employers are required to take the appropriate steps to avoid harassment or discrimination based on:

Verbal Harassment Laws and Your Workplace

Although the law prohibits verbal harassment, it still happens. In fact, nearly 20 percent of Americans have experienced abusive conduct at work. Under our verbal harassment laws, this type of conduct can include inappropriate jokes, derogatory comments or sexual innuendo. Verbal threats or implied threats count, too, and so does visual harassment (like offensive posters or signs). Aggressive or repeated request for sexual favors, or even showing someone favoritism based on a protected characteristic can also be forms of verbal harassment that violate the law.

Unfortunately, verbal harassment can also lead to physical harassment, like unwanted touching or hitting.

There are many reasons people engage in illegal verbal harassment (like bigotry or even personal gratification), but it’s important to know that if you’ve been the victim, you can fight back.

Laws That Govern Verbal Harassment in the Workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It isn’t explicitly against verbal harassment, but courts typically interpret discrimination to include it.
The Americans With Disabilities Act The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people with physical and mental disabilities from discrimination and harassment that’s based on a disability.
The Age Discrimination Act The Age Discrimination Act protects workers over the age of 40 against age-related discrimination and harassment.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act The Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA, is a state law that covers workers when it comes to discrimination and harassment. It applies to many employees, some independent contractors, interns and job applicants.
The California Constitution The California Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, creed, race, color, nationality or ethnic origin.


In California, employers are required to follow the law that protects employees the most. That means if FEHA provides more protection in your situation than Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does, your employer is supposed follow FEHA.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Verbal Harassment Law in California?

If you need to talk to an attorney about verbal harassment law and how it may apply to you, call us at 818-230-8380 for a free case review. We’ll answer your questions and talk about possible outcomes of your case, as well as give you the legal advice you need.

    Contact Us

    [anr_nocaptcha g-recaptcha-response]