Employee Rights No Fees Unless We Win
Harassment is not permitted in California workplaces. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) permits employees who suffer from harassment to sue employers for damages. However, not all unwanted behavior constitutes harassment. FEHA protects certain characteristics. If you are harassed because of a protected characteristic, you may be able to sue. If you suspect that you were harassed because of your membership in a protected class, you should contact the Los Angeles harassment lawyers at the Kokozian Law Firm.Harassment in the Workplace
To bring a claim for harassment in the workplace, you will need to show that the harassment occurred because of a protected characteristic under federal or state laws. In most cases, there is greater relief available under FEHA, which forbids harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, immigration status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, or military or veteran status.
Under FEHA, it is illegal for employers that have at least five employees to discriminate against or harass job applicants or employees due to their identification with a protected class. FEHA’s prohibition against sexual harassment applies even to employers with only one employee. FEHA protects not only employees but also job applicants, volunteers, unpaid interns, and others, like independent contractors, who provide services under a contract.
Courts usually identify two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. If you are alleging harassment based on a characteristic other than sex, you will need to show hostile work environment harassment. To recover damages, a harassment attorney in the Los Angeles area will need to show that the harassment was either so severe or so pervasive that it caused the work environment to be hostile. Trivial or minor incidents of insensitivity are not actionable.Who Perpetrates Harassment?
When harassment is perpetrated by a supervisor or manager, an employer is strictly liable for the harassment. This means that you can hold the employer liable for a supervisor or manager’s harassment even if the employer did not breach a duty of care toward you. However, harassment can also be perpetrated by coworkers, clients, or visiting contractors. It is more complicated to hold an employer liable for harassment by these actors. The employer will be liable for harassment by these actors only if it was negligent regarding the harassment. This means that the employer knew or should have known about the harassment, yet it failed to properly correct the situation.Responding to Harassment
If you have been harassed due to a protected characteristic, you should follow any grievance procedures set forth in your employment manual. If no grievance procedures are set forth, you should notify a supervisor or the Human Resources Department about the harassment. Whichever formal channel you use, you should provide notice in writing so that if the person to whom you complained does not correct the situation, your Los Angeles harassment attorney can show that the employer had notice and should be liable for the harassment.
If notice is provided, and no action is taken to fix the situation in a timely fashion, the next step is to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This is a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit to recover damages for harassment. Usually, you must file a complaint with DFEH within three years of the harassment. DFEH may investigate, or it may issue a right to sue notice right away. After you receive notice of the right to sue, you can bring a civil lawsuit for monetary damages against the harasser and the employer. You must file your civil lawsuit within a year of receiving the right to sue notice from DFEH.Retain a Dedicated Employment Attorney
If you were subject to harassment in your workplace, you may be entitled to recover damages. It is important to talk to a seasoned employment litigator about your situation. At the Kokozian Law Firm, our attorneys fight for workers and pursue claims aggressively. We understand what our clients have been through and treat them with compassion. Our harassment lawyers represent people in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.