Los Angeles Harassment Attorneys
The Los Angeles workplace harassment lawyers at Mathew & George are experienced in all manners of employment lawsuits. If you have been harassed at work in the Los Angeles area, reach out to our team for a free consultation. Our Los Angeles harassment attorneys will review your situation and let you know if an EEOC claim is a good idea. We can help you navigate the claims process and pursue a lawsuit for your workplace harassment case.
Discrimination can take many forms, with one of the most common being harassment. Harassment is any unwelcome conduct directed at another individual, usually on the basis of race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other factor of a person’s identity. Harassment is a common form of workplace discrimination, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has strict rules governing workplace fairness.
Understanding Workplace Harassment in California
Harassment is generally defined as an employee enduring unwelcome conduct as a condition of remaining employed. That is, the harasser has made it clear that the conduct will not stop as long as the targeted individual remains employed at the organization. Harassment also includes any actions that create a hostile, abusive, or otherwise distressing working environment for an employee due to his or her particular identifying traits or a perceived trait.
The EEOC does not consider petty, infrequently made rude comments or isolated incidents as harassment unless they are serious in nature. If a court deems that the conduct in question would create a hostile work environment for any other reasonable person, the employer can be held accountable for breaking EEOC laws.
Harassment can include:
- Offensive remarks, such as jokes, epithets, or slurs
- Physical assaults
- Threats to an employee’s person or job security
- Any other form of intimidation
- Ridicule due to the employee’s personal identity
- Insults and mockery
- Posting offensive images or notes in the workplace
- Interfering with an employee’s work due to his or her personal identity
- Threats of workplace violence
This is not an exhaustive list – the ways in which harassment can take place vary widely as well. When most people think of workplace harassment, they often imagine an employer mistreating an employee. However, harassment can take place between colleagues of similar standing, supervisors and their subordinates, employees of partnered businesses, or non-employees who interact with the employee on a regular basis as part of his or her job requirements (such as a parcel delivery person who delivers goods and supplies on a regular basis to the employee’s workplace). Additionally, anyone who feels affected by harassment may file a claim.
Filing a Harassment Claim in Los Angeles
Unlike personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs in workplace harassment cases do not have to prove any economic injury occurred to win their cases. In some harassment cases, an employee may have been compelled to quit or was otherwise forced to resign. A workplace harassment claim may help that employee secure reinstatement and back pay for time lost.
If you believe that you are being harassed at work, do not hesitate to explore your organization’s internal options for resolution. Many companies do not want harassment to take place, and they want to safeguard against potentially ugly lawsuits. Explore your company’s internal processes for resolving harassment, and you may be able to have the situation handled quickly to your satisfaction. It is in your company’s best interest to quell harassment in the workplace.
However, if this is impossible (or the harassment is particularly severe), reach out to a Los Angeles workplace harassment attorney to help you file a lawsuit. The EEOC investigates complaints of harassment, and if such an investigation determines that harassment did take place, the EEOC will either file a lawsuit on your behalf or issue a “right to sue” letter to your Los Angeles harassment lawyer.
Filing for Workers’ Comp for Harassment
Victims of workplace harassment may be able to file a workers’ compensation or disability claim under California law. In order to collect workers’ compensation benefits, the following must apply:
- You are an employee of the organization
- Your workplace injuries arose from the nature of your employment
If you sustain injuries on the job – such as those arising from harassment – your employer must, by law, have workers’ compensation insurance that will compensate you for any medical treatment or lost wages while you’re off work.
By law, your employer cannot fire you for filing a claim for an on-the-job injury or missing work to recover.
It’s also important to understand that if your employer is threatening your job because you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits, this is also a form of harassment. If this applies to your case, contact an experienced California employment attorney immediately.
Sometimes, employers try to threaten employees in an effort to make them quit. If you’re enduring additional workplace harassment in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, resist the urge to throw in the towel and quit. This could negatively affect your workers’ compensation claim. If, on the other hand, your employer wrongfully lays you off or fires you while receiving workers’ compensation, you may be able to receive additional benefits.
Workers’ Compensation and No-Fault Claims
Workers’ compensation is, by nature, a no-fault system. This means that you won’t have to prove that your employer’s negligence contributed to your injuries in order to collect benefits. You simply have to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer on the grounds of harassment, and they must file a report with the insurance company. On the other hand, filing a workers’ compensation claim for harassment may limit your ability to pursue an additional claim against your employer for negligence.
Due to the difficult nature of these claims, it’s not uncommon for them to face denial from the insurance company. This highlights the importance of hiring a California workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights and ensure your employer is meeting its obligations.
Your Employer’s Liability and Obligations
The laws of the state of California strictly prohibit harassment of any employees. If harassment occurs in any form in the workplace, an employer faces strict liability for that harassment. In other words, an employer will be liable for any harassment that occurs in a workplace regardless of proof of fault. Even if management did not know that harassment occurred, they could still be responsible for any damages that result.
In some cases, however, liability cannot be absolute. For example, a company may avoid liability for a harassment claim if a non-management employee harassed another, but management had harassment initiatives in place. However, if management knew about this harassment and failed to act, the company could still be liable for damages.
Employers face legal requirements to take a preventive approach to harassment in the workplace. Steps they must take include:
- Posting notices required by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing
- Distributing information to employees about harassment prevention, including information about applicable laws and regulations and possible legal remedies.
Despite these initiatives, harassment continues to plague workplaces throughout Southern California. If you were recently the victim of workplace harassment, talk to the experienced Los Angeles harassment attorneys at Mathew & George. We help victims of harassment understand their rights and responsibilities under California law, and hold employers accountable for their actions. If you’re suffering at work, don’t endure it in silence. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with our firm, contact us.