Our nation is blessed with a very diverse population consisting of many ethnicities, nationalities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, special abilities and disabilities, and sexual orientation. Yet such diversity needs to be supported in the workplace, because if it is neglected, an employer may inadvertently create a Hostile Work Environment. Such workplace harassment and hostility is not only a major challenge to worker productivity and employee satisfaction, but it also may ruin people’s lives and the very existence of a business.
California employees who are targeted and victimized in a Hostile Work Environment by Sexual Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Physical Abuse, or Pervasive Misconduct and Harassment of a non-sexual nature in the workplace may file a lawsuit against the Employer for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as for various causes of action under California Tort Law, including General Negligence, Negligent Hiring, Training, Retention and Supervision of Employees, Assault and Battery, Intentional Infliction of Severe Emotional Distress, False Imprisonment, Defamation of Character (Slander or Libel), and Invasion of Privacy, not to mention other federal and California violations such as Gender Discrimination or Religious Discrimination.
Further, the illegal actions underlying the Hostile Work Environment claim may give the District Attorney’s Office of the County of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, or Sacramento, for example, sufficient grounds to bring criminal charges against the offending person responsible for harassing the victim-employee in addition to possible criminal charges against the employer himself where the employer is an accomplice of sorts in the commission of a crime listed under the California Penal Code, such as Assault, Battery, Stalking, Harassment, or Rape.
Whether you are an Employer facing a Hostile Work Environment claim against you by your employee, or you are an Employee who is filing a Hostile Work Environment claim yourself, it is crucial to hire an exceptional Employment Lawyer to guide you through the process as soon as possible so as to ensure you do not make any errors that will cost you your case and to ensure that your Hostile Work Environment Lawyer makes the most of your case’s strengths.
My Hostile Work Environment Law practice offers legal representation in Sexual Harassment and other Harassment and Hostile Work Environment cases, whether such cases are brought by Employers or Employees.
As a Hostile Work Environment Attorney, I understand the importance of providing cutting-edge legal services for clients. I am eager to help create a team of non-legal professionals to support your case from the start, including private investigators, forensic psychologists, security personnel, human resources consultants, sexual trauma therapists and experts, as well as courtroom professionals to maximize my representation of your case, including audio-visual discovery professionals, jury selection psychologists, and expert witnesses from industries ranging from IT, Biotech, Gaming, Fashion, Restaurant, Accountancy, Legal, Medical, Engineering, and Architecture, all focused on giving your lawsuit every possible advantage.
Employees Filing California Hostile Work Environment Lawsuits
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is a violation of an employee’s rights to be subjected to working in a hostile work environment, and an employee who is harassed at work in a sufficiently severe or pervasive manner may file a claim for a Hostile Work Environment violation with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For that claim to be successful, however, the employee must prove that the harassment he or she experienced was sufficiently severe or pervasive, as determined from an objective and subjective standard – meaning that the average reasonable person would consider the harassment to be sufficiently severe or pervasive, and that the employee himself sincerely also believed the harassment to be severe or pervasive. Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21- 22 (1993).
In evaluating the severity or pervasiveness of harassment under a Hostile Work Environment claim, the California Superior and Federal courts must consider the “totality of the circumstances,” meaning that the court evaluates the frequency and severity of the harassment directed at the employee. For example, the court considers whether the harassment was physical in nature or whether the harassment unreasonably interfered with the employee’s performance at the workplace. Yet it should be noted that by law, the “severe or pervasive” requirement was designed to “filter out complaints attacking the ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language, gender related jokes, and occasional teasing.” Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 788 (1998). In considering the severity of the harassment, California Courts consider whether the harassing actions against the employee were sexual or non-sexual in nature, further clarifying that a combination of harassing sexual comments and harassing staring that target an employee by another may qualify as sexual harassment under Hostile Work Environment Law. Birchstein v. New United Motor Mfg., Inc., 112 Cal Rptr. 2d 347 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001).
Absent actions of sexual or non-sexual harassment that are sufficiently severe, an employee might successfully sue a California employer for Hostile Work Environment if the employee proves by way of evidence in court that the harassing behavior was pervasive, meaning that there are multiple non-severe incidents of harassment directed at the employee, especially occurring in a short period of time. Where such pervasive harassment occurs over a longer period of time, such as over the course of months or years, the California Courts are less likely to find a violation of Hostile Work Environment laws.
Legal Defense for California Employers Facing Hostile Work Environment Claims
For California employers, it is crucial to ensure that your human resources department and legal counsel are working hard to prevent a Hostile Work Environment Claim and California Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, well before such a lawsuit is even filed with the EEOC, or of course, in the Superior Court of California or the Federal District Court. I offer determined Compliance Law representation and General Counsel services for California and District of Columbia employers seeking to bolster their defenses against Workplace Misconduct and Harassment Claims brought by Employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
It is crucial to ensure that your employees feel safe in the workplace, and creating a tone of professionalism is not only great for increasing the productivity of your employees but it is also a perfect strategy for preventing employment lawsuits in California Courts, which are quite aggressive about punishing employers who negligently, recklessly, or intentionally foster a Hostile Work Environment. But when careful hiring, training, supervision, and retention practices, regular team meetings, and employee brochures fail to ensure that your workplace is a safe one for all your employees, it remains your responsibility as an employer to ensure that a Hostile Work Environment complaint is seriously and effectively addressed and resolved as soon as possible. California case law has shown that Courts are most satisfied when the employer shows strong, intelligent, and effective resolve in defusing a Sexual Harassment or other Hostile Work Environment problem to the benefit of all the employees. Brooks v. City of San Mateo, 229 F.3d 917 (9th Cir. 2000).
With passion and eloquence, I am eager to confront serious Hostile Work Environment concerns to maximize the benefits for my clients. To arrange an Initial Consultation appointment to discuss the facts of your Hostile Work Environment case, allowing me to posit various possible legal strategies and devise a proposed budget for representation for you, please click on the Consultation button at the top right of this page to get started.