California Workers’ Rights to Harassment-Free Workplaces

California Workers’ Rights to Harassment-Free Workplaces

In the state of California, workers have the right to work in a harassment-free workplace. However, even though workers have that right, that doesn’t mean that all workplaces are free from harassment. There are several types of workplace harassment, and many of them are illegal. Here’s what you need to know about California workers’ rights to harassment-free workplaces.

What is Workplace Harassment?

Under California law, there are two forms of behavior that constitute workplace harassment. First, there’s quid pro quo harassment, and in this type, a supervisor asks an employee to engage in some form of sexual conduct as a condition of receiving a benefit at work or to prevent negative consequences at work. Second, there’s hostile work environment harassment; in this type of harassment, bullying and harassing conduct create an abusive work environment.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful. In the state of California, workers have the right to go to work without dealing with sexual harassment. Some forms of sexual harassment include:

  • Being fired after complaining about harassment
  • Derogatory comments
  • Discussions about sex
  • Graphic comments
  • Leering
  • Offers of employment or other benefits in exchange for sexual contact or conduct
  • Rude gestures
  • Sexually degrading words
  • Sexually suggestive or obscene messages
  • Showcasing sexually suggestive objects, videos, pictures or cartoons
  • Slurs
  • Threats to your job or benefits for failing to comply with sexual requests
  • Unwanted sexual propositions
  • Unwanted touching
  • Unwelcome jokes

It’s important to note that there are several other actions that can constitute sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are unsure whether something counts as sexual harassment, you can ask a supervisor, someone in your company’s HR department or a workplace harassment attorney in Los Angeles. 

Related: 7 common employment law issues

Harassment That Isn’t Sexual in Nature

Not all harassment in the workplace is sexual in nature. In fact, hostile work environment harassment can be any type of conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive environment. Isolated and minor incidents of insensitive behavior aren’t usually enough to constitute workplace harassment. However, workplace bullying that affects a person’s ability to perform their job almost certainly does.

Your Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace

Every worker in California has the absolute right to work in a workplace that is free from unlawful harassment. Unfortunately, harassment still exists in many workplaces across the state. Sometimes people are afraid to report harassment, and in other cases people do report it and nobody cares. However, it’s important to note that if you report workplace harassment, your employer is legally required to investigate, and, if necessary, do something about it.

Related: LGBT rights discrimination

What Should You Do if You’re Being Harassed at Work?

If you’re being harassed at work, your first step should be to document the situation. Gather any type of evidence you can, and talk to witnesses who would be willing to make statements on your behalf. Then, you should approach a supervisor or your company’s HR department with your concerns. Many employers require you to file a formal complaint; you can usually find your employer’s procedures for filing complaints in your company handbook.

Generally, you must give your employer a chance to resolve the situation. If that doesn’t work, it may be a good idea for you to speak to a workplace harassment attorney. Your attorney can give you the guidance you need to begin moving forward. Your attorney will also want to see any documentation that you have, including copies of reports you have formally filed with your employer.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Your Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace?

If you’ve been harassed at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation. That’s true whether the harassment you experienced was sexual or non sexual in nature, and it’s also true whether you were the direct recipient of the harassment or you observed it.

Call our office today at 818-230-8380-230-8380 or fill out the form below to schedule your free consultation with a workplace harassment attorney who works in Los Angeles and Glendale. We will be happy to answer your questions and give you the legal guidance you need.

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