Harassment in the workplace can be overwhelming for the employee. Others may not see it as harassment. Notably, sexual harassment may not get noticed by other employees for what it is. At the same time, the victim may suffer from anxiety, insomnia, depression.
In some situations, post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest itself. Also, other reactions are harmful physically and emotionally. Hence, victims may find they are unable to assert themselves appropriately at work. And all of this is due to the hostile work environment.
Michael Ehline has worked in a hostile work situation. So our accident attorneys understand what it is. And we don’t like it. Hence, we are willing to fight like mad on behalf of victims.
Most of all, we won’t rest until victims get justice in or out of court. The goal is monetary damages to send a message to the employer. The message is clear. Honor the spirit of the employment contract instead. So stop trying to terminate the employee constructively. After all, it is he who is the object of the employer’s aggression.
What makes Ehline so different is that we are unrelenting. The firm is run by a former United States Marine. So you know right away that failure is not an option. Do or die, or staff of trained experts is ready to roll. Read on and discover more about what makes us different.
Table of Contents:
- EEOC Definition of Hostile Workplace
- Stopping Workplace Harassment and Hostile Work Environment
- Take Notes and Detail Discrimination in a Log
- Steps You Should Never Take
- Offensive Behavior and Hostile Work Environment
- Human Resource Policies
- Retaliation by Firing after Filing a Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit
- Legal Assistance for Hostile Work Environment Claims
- Call a Lawyer Now
The EEOC Position/Definitions of Hostile Workplace.
There are state and federal laws to protect employees from workplace harassment. But not all harassment at work is illegal. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) outlines the differences. So it covers what legal, and unlawful hostile workplace environments are. The EEOC sights annoyances, petty slights, and isolated incidents as not considered illegal.
Of course, this is unless the isolated incident is exceptionally hostile. Then it may be illegal. The EEOC says hostile work environments exist if reasonable people think it is harassing. Usually, it would show intimidating or offensive behavior. Often a lawyer can help victims understand when the employer legally crossed the line.
Understanding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Learning the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, and The American’s with Disabilities Act. They can all get used together to form a mighty sword.
When harassment creates a hostile work environment, it may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It could also violate the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967. Furthermore, it may involve violations of the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990. So it could also be harassment violating the employee’s fundamental rights. It is harassment involving religion, pregnancy, racial harassment, sexual orientation, genetic or national origin.
The victim of harassment in the workplace must follow the procedures of the company. Same is true when making complaints. Also, this is so whether or not it is to a supervisor or the human resources department. The employee should report what the issue consists of. Also, he or she should document why they believe it is creating a hostile work environment.
Some companies do not have a written policy for workplace harassment or hostile work environment. Hence, in those cases, employees should report it to immediate supervisors. But not so if the person who is creating the situation. In this case, the employee should make their complaint to someone above the supervisor. Sometimes, the victim will need to go to another supervisor or the owner of the company and make a record.
The employee who is a victim of workplace harassment or sexual harassment should request the person harassing stop their behavior. If this does not stop the offensive behavior, then the employee should follow the workplace complaint procedure. So this may be complaining to a superior, human resources or directly to the owner.
Having a documented record of the events of the hostile work environment can be used to back up the complaint. This record of the events should have the account of the harassment and the reaction it caused the employee. What if the workplace complaint procedure does not resolve the harassment or makes the hostile work environment worse? Then the next step is to consult an experienced hostile work environment attorney. A trained advocate can help the employee determine what the next step in stopping the harassment should happen.
When an employee believes they are the victim of bullying it is important to keep a journal of the incidents that were offensive, the date, time and a description of the event. Also, this can help in two manners. First, follow the complaint procedures of the company. Secondly, it helps in the event the employee must file a legal claim against the harasser and the employer.
The employee may believe they have a clear memory of what occurred. But memories fade, along with dates, times and any witnesses to the harassment incident. Having a written account of the events will not depend on memory recall at a stressful and emotional time. If the claim goes to court, there will be a valid, documented account that is credible to the court and jurors.
Document the Facts and Not Narratives or Opinions.
The written account of the incidents at the time they occur should be only relevant facts of the harassment or discriminatory behavior. It should not be an in-depth document that may add more than the actual event. So this could make the written account less credible if every minor annoyance in the workplace gets documented.
But there are other forms of evidence the employee may find to help build their claim of harassment. For example, it could be in the form of offensive pictures or harassing emails. Save these items to show the level of harassment occurring in the workplace. Save any paperwork related to the issue, such as write-ups. Hold on to the employee handbook. Also, make images or copies of the posted harassment or discrimination policy.
Steps Not to Take.
Do not attempt to record conversations secretly. And this is true even though it is the person engaged in the harassing behavior. You could be in legal trouble in California. The problem with doing this is the employee will be illegally taping the conversation. In the state of California, the law says there must be consent by the other party to get recorded. Otherwise, they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
This could result in criminal charges getting brought against the employee. So the person working in a hostile work environment could go to jail if not careful. So unless there was consent by the employer for recording, be careful. Also, the recording most likely would not get permitted in state court as evidence. After all, it may have gotten obtained illegally. So it could get used as evidence of illegal recording. Federal courts may allow it, but it may also land the victim in state jail.
Do not encourage sexual harassment in any manner. Don’t flirt or get intimate. Most of all that could make it appear it is consensual rather than an unwanted harassment. Attempting to trap the alleged harasser is not smart. Also, this is a situation where there are usually witnesses. This could hurt you in court. Because of this, the facts recounted by witnesses can appear much different.
So the jury may discount or disbelieve the allegations in the complaint. So in that case, filing a lawsuit could be counterproductive. But employees pretending they don’t realize they are getting harassed are not wise either. Because of this, it may push the sexual harasser to increase the advances. So the employee should make it clear the behavior is unwanted each time an incident occurs.
Hostile work environments can take various forms. Hence, they can manifest as offensive pictures, harassing email, or sexual advances. Also, this behavior may be offensive or create a hostile work environment. Such behavior may include, though is not limited to the following:
- Name calling or epithets
- Interfering with work performance
- Offensive jokes
- Physical assault or threats
- Offensive pictures, posters or other objects.
Harassment, discrimination, and offensive behavior can create a hostile work environment. So it can make an employee into a victim. When they are a target and complain they may get no results from the company or employer. Then they have the right to file a lawsuit against the offender and employer. Any employee can become a victim of harassment resulting in a hostile work environment. This includes both female and male employees.
Laws protect the rights of employees. These statutes and codes permit employees to file a claim against the defendants. By holding employers accountable workplaces can be safer for all employees.
It is important for the harassed employee to follow the company procedures. So they must file a complaint. Also, the employee should read the employer’s policy on sexual harassment and discrimination. Mostly, these are corporate policies. But they also include procedures to escalate and report harassment. So ensure they get followed. Also, make sure and use the correct complaint procedure within the company. Last, if the harassment is not stopped, then consult a respected attorney.
Employees who are harassed and then fired after filing a lawsuit against the offender and employer are protected by the law from wrongful termination. After being fired it is imperative to consult a wrongful termination lawyer who can assist in determining the best course of action to take.
Employees have legal rights. Included in these rights are not getting harassed in the workplace. This is true whether it is sexual advances, or racial discrimination. Even age discrimination, disability discrimination or other behavior violates employee California and federal laws.
So employees who have become a victim of harassment have the right to demand it gets stopped. And this process starts first by chiding by telling the offender. But victims can also can file a complaint to human resources, a supervisor or owner.
When offending behavior is not stopped, the employee or employees can take legal action. That’s where our experts come into play. Ehline Law Firm are reputable attorneys. So we have experience in handling hostile work environment claims. Hence, we can help obtain the compensation the victims deserve.
Our Southern California law firm and Los Angeles-based injury lawyers are experts. We specialize in litigation and negotiations. Also, we help with wrongful termination lawsuits. Most of all, our attorneys have dedication to protecting the rights of the victims. Also, we have a sterling reputation within the community and the courts.
Consult our lawyers if you believe you are a victim of workplace harassment. If it resulted in a hostile work environment, you must determine the best course of legal action to take. Call a hostile work environment attorney now at (213) 596-9642.